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Outline Studies 
In the Old Testament 



Prof, of New Testament Exegesis in United Presbyterian 
Theological Seminary. 

New York \ Chicago : Toronto 

Fleming H. Revell Company 

London and Edinburgh 


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1893, by 
Fleming H. Revell Company, in the office of the I/ibranan of 
congress at Washington. All rights reserved. 


A survey of the Bible, however cursory and partial, 
cannot but prove helpful ; for the book is a great 
light-center, and no one can wander into its neighbor- 
hood without catching some of its beams. These 
Outline Studies in the books of the Old Testament 
pretend to be no more than helps in the reading of the 
Scriptures than to catch a few of the beams that ra- 
diate from that fountain of light. How imperfect they 
are no one can so fully realize as the author. They 
are neither critical nor expository. They are designed 
for beginners in Bible study. The one aim has been 
to furnish for Young People an analysis of the con- 
tents of each book, and some of the more prominent 

In the preparation of the Outlines all available aid 
has been freely employed, more especially Fraser's 
Synoptical Lectures, Home's Introduction, Smith's 
Dictionary of the Bible, Stanley's Lectures, Eder- 
sheim's Temple Service, and various Commentaries. 

If these Studies serve to deepen in any one the con- 
viction that the Scriptures are the very Word of God, 
and that the entrance of their inspired words ' ' giveth 
light," none will so rejoice as the author. 

Xenia, Ohio. 



To the great surprise of the author who antici- 
pated no such fortune for his book, a second 
edition of these Outline Studies seems to be called 
for. Candor prompts him to say that the surprise 
is a grateful one. Many needed corrections have 
been made for this edition, though perhaps not 
all the mistakes have been detected. 


XENIA, O., April, 1894. 


Bible Study 5 

Scrip. Types 12 

Genesis 18 

Exodus 26 

Leviticus 37 

Numbers 49 

Deut 56 

Joshua 62 

Judges 70 

Ruth 80 

ISam'l 88 

II Sam'l 97 

I and II Kings 105 

I and II Chron .... 113 

Ezra 121 

Nehemiah 127 

Esther 132 

Job 140 

Psalms 157 

Proverbs 182 

Ecclesiastes 190 

Song 197 

Prophecy 206 

Isaiah 218 

Jeremiah 240 

Lamentations 256 

Ezekiel 260 

Daniel 275 

The Minor Prophets . . 297 

Hosea 300 

Joel 307 

Amos 313 

Obadiah 320 

Jonah 323 

Micah 332 

Nahum 338 

Habakkuk 343 

Zephaniah 345 

Haggai 34$ 

Zechariah 352 

Malachi 361 


The object of the following pages is to furnish the 
student of Scripture with the outlines of the Old 
Testament books. The design, analysis and prin- 
cipal subjects of each book are given as fully as the 
prescribed limits will permit. 

But before we enter upon these studies some pre- 
liminary matters require brief mention. 

First: The temper of mind with which Scripture should 
be studied. In its origin and contents the Bible dif- 
fers from other books. It comes to us with divine 
sanction. It claims to be the word of the living 
God. It asserts that God has attested the validity 
of its claims by signs and wonders and mighty 
deeds. Assuming its plenary inspiration, it follows 
obviously that the Bible should not be taken up in 
the spirit in which we approach other books. How 
shall we read it? 

i. The Bible should be studied with the profound 
conviction that it is the word of God; that it contains 
a revelation from Him, a revelation of Him, and a 
revelation of ourselves Likewise, 2 Tim. iii:i6; Heb. 
i:i, 2; 2 Peter i:2O, 21, etc. We want to settle it 
definitely with ourselves that this book primarily is 
not made up of the words of the various writers 
whose names it records not of the words of Moses, 
David, John and Paul but of the words of God. 
The inspired writers affirm that these are not their 


utterances, that they are not the originators of the 
messages they deliver. Thus the apostle Peter 
writes: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of 
the Scripture is of any private interpretation," 2 
Pet. i:2O. By this is meant that it did not originate 
with the prophet himself, nor is it tied up to the 
times of the prophets, I Pet. i:io, 1 1. Of course, 
there is a human element in the Bible. Its language 
is human, else there would be no revelation at 
all. Its truth enters into the realm of human reason 
and intelligence. Nevertheless, let the conviction 
take firm hold on us when we open the Bible, that 
God is here speaking to us. 

2. In our study of the Book its unity should not 
be overlooked. The Author of the New Testament 
is also the Author of the Old. One mind pervades 
them both, the mind of God. The Epistle to the 
Hebrews opens with this sublime announcement: 
" God who at sundry times and in divers manners 
spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets 
hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son " 
in each case, whether by the prophets or by the 
Son, the Speaker was God. The Old Testament is 
the promise and prophecy of the New, and the New 
is the promise and prophecy of glory. The great 
subjects of the one are identical with those of the 
other. What lies in the one as buds, blooms into 
mature foliage and fruit in the other. As an ancient 
Latin father has well said: "The New Testament 
lies concealed in the Old, and the Old stands re- 
vealed in the New." 

3. Christ is the center of Scripture, its one pre- 
eminent theme, John v:$9; Luke xxiv:27, 44; Acts 
xxviii:23, etc. The Book had a great variety of 


penmen, and these differed from each other very 
widely as to gifts, natural and acquired. They 
range all the way from the highest poet and thinker 
like Moses, David, Isaiah, Paul down to the hum- 
blest artisan and rustic, as were Amos, Matthew, 
Mark and Peter. It stretches over a period of 
some 1600 years in its composition. And yet it is a 
book essentially of one idea one majestic thought 
runs through it all from first to last, binding 
together its diversified parts into a single and har- 
monious whole. Jesus Christ, in His person and 
work, in His mission and offices, in His first and 
His second advents, is the one glorious topic of the 
Bible, its sum. Toward Him all its lines converge; 
in Him all its strange voices harmonize and blend; 
in Him its promises and predictions have their ful- 
fillment. If we fail to find Him in the Old Testa- 
ment, it will become a meaningless and wearisome 
book to us; for it is a sort of skillfully arranged lat- 
tice-work through which the devout reader may 
always see the Redeemer in His wondrous ways 
with His people. 

4. We should come to the Bible remembering 
the functions it fulfills in our redemption. Most 
conspicuous is the place it holds in the salvation of 
men. By it, as the means in the hands of the Spirit, 
regeneration is effected, Jas. 1:18; I Pet. 1:23. By it 
faith is nourished, Rom. x:i4, 17; Jno. v:24. By 
hearing the words of Satan man was lost; by hear- 
ing the words of God men are saved; " He that 
heareth my words and believeth him that sent me 
hath everlasting life." By the testimony of Script- 
ure we are justified. Rom. iv:3; "Abraham believed 
God and it was counted unto him for righteousness." 


We also believe the same divine testimony as to the 
righteousness of God in Christ, and are justified. 
By it we are sanctified. Jno. xvii:i7; 2 Thess. ii:i3. 
By it we grow. I Pet. ii:i~3. It is the sure remedy 
for sins. Ps. cxix:ii. But why continue the recital? 
There is no stage in our career, there is no circum- 
stance, or condition, or relation possible to us, but 
some word of God is exactly adapted thereto; and 
the chief aim of Bible study is to lead us into so 
large and accurate acquaintance with the Scriptures 
as that we shall know how to use them for our 
guidance and growth. 

5. Recognition of the doctrine of progress in the 
revelation contained in the Bible is another requisite 
to a right study of the Word. The Book is one 
of growth. Not all the truth was given at once. 
Gradually God communicated His mind to men, 
Heb. i:i. Genesis contains in germ all that the 
books which follow unfold; the Pentateuch holds in 
latency all the prophetic writings. Thus the Bible 
becomes a living organism. Men build their sys- 
tems much as they build a house, laying beam on 
beam. God constructs His revelation as He does 
the oak of the forest. He plants the germinal seed 
amid the clods of a wasted Eden and it grows and 
expands parallel with the development of the race, 
We see the progress referred to in the revelation of 
the law of love, man's first duty to man. What 
progress there is from Genesis to I Cor. xiii; and 
yet the love so wonderfully opened in this chapter 
lies in germ in the oldest records of the Bible. The 
same truth is seen likewise as to the doctrine of the 
Godhead, the divine Unity being first insisted on, 
and then the later revelation of the Trinity. In 


fact, progress touches every doctrine and duty of 
which the Scriptures treat. 

6. Another thing to be borne in mind is the 
supreme authority of the Bible. God has spoken in 
His word, now speaks. Our duty is to hear and 
obey. The Bible is not simply a book of opinions; 
it is not only true, it is the truth, absolute and final. 
Nothing is to usurp its functions or authority; 
nothing must be suffered to become its rival. Man's 
reason and word lead to darkness and infidelity. 
Man's word mixed with God's is superstition; God's 
word alone is the exact truth, from which there is 
no appeal. Whatever this Book repudiates is 
heresy; whatever it condemns is sin; whatever it is 
silent on is not essential to salvation. Of all 
preached from the pulpit, spoken from the plat- 
form, read from the press, the prescription is " Take 
heed what ye hear." Of all spoken by the Lord, 
recorded by the Spirit, written in the Bible, the 
injunction is, "Take heed how ye hear." The first 
may be truth mingled with error, and the duty is to 
sift it, and to separate what is precious from what 
is vicious. The last is the pure truth, and the duty 
lies not in discriminating where there is nothing to 
discriminate, but in the posture of mind we main- 
tain toward it, 

To allow the Book to have supreme sway over us 
is a vital point, Obedience to the Word a^ we come 
to know the Word is an essential element in Bible 
study. " If any man will do his will he shall know 
of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I 
speak of myself," Jno. vii 117. This "obedience is 
the organ of spiritual knowledge." Singleness of 
heart to please God is the grand inlet for further 


knowledge. He that honestly uses the light he has 
shall have more light, and still more. "Then shall 
we know if we follow on to know the Lord." He 
who refuses to do God's will, as he comes to know 
that will, need not be surprised if in process of time 
the Bible becomes to him a sealed book, and the 
light that was in him becomes darkness. 

Second: The names of God in the Old Testament. His 
name is that whereby He makes Himself known. 
His name is a revelation of Himself. 

God (Elohim), the first divine name we encounter 
in the Bible, Gen. i:i, the most comprehensive, per- 
haps, of all. It is God who creates, who judges, 
delivers, and executes punishment on evil-doers. 

God Almighty (El Shaddai), the all-sufficient One, 
the infinitely Able One. It expresses a double 
idea, viz: God's almightiness, His power to fulfill 
every promise He has made His people; and His 
faithfulness in performing every word He has 
spoken, Gen. xviin, 2; xlviii:3, 4; xlix:25, etc. 

LORD (Jehovah), a name expressive of covenant 
relationship, Ex. iii: 14, 16; iii:4J Lev. xvi; Isa. liii: 
etc. The LORD is the Self-existent and un- 
changeable One who enters into covenant engage- 
ment with those who are the objects of His pity and 
love. Perhaps it is not too much to say that 
Jehovah is God entering into history in His redemp- 
tive relations with His people. 

Lord (Adonai), Master, Owner, Gen. xv.2-8; Mai. 
iii:i, etc. In Ezek, xvi:8, 14, 19, 23, 30, we find the 
two names, Jehovah and Lord, united together, and 
they appear to denote God as the Master and Hus- 
band of His people Israel. The attentive reader of 
the Bible will easily distinguish between the two 


names last mentioned by noting that Jehovah is 
always printed in the best copies of the Bible in 
small capitals, thus: LORD, whilst the other (Adonai) 
is printed Lord. 

All these great titles of God, and others, are given 
us in the Old Testament as revelations and mani- 
festations of Him whom to know is eternal life. 
They designate God's various relations to men. 
The same thing obtains among us. My father is a 
man; he is likewise a citizen, an office-bearer, and a 
man of affairs. But he is especially my father, 
without ceasing to maintain his other relations. 
God is the Creator, Sovereign and Judge; but He is 
the Father of believers without ceasing to be all 
that is implied in the other titles he takes, 



Another matter which seems to require mention 
is, the Typology of the Bible. Inadequate and 
erroneous views alike are entertained on the subject. 
Some find types everywhere in the Old Testament, 
specially in the Pentateuch, others next to none. 
It is firmly believed that the teaching of Scripture 
on the subject is neither meagre nor obscure. Only 
briefest notes are subjoined. 

That there are types in the Old Testament no one 
would venture to deny. The New Testament justi- 
fies the assertion. It takes up a large number of 
persons and events of former dispensations, and 
treats them as being prefigurations and prophecies 
of the future. One who has not looked with some 
care into the subject will be astonished to discover 
how largely the New Testament writers find pre- 
intimations and adumbrations of Christ in the 
Scriptures of the Old. Care must be had, however, 
in the pursuit of such a study, for we are not 
inspired. Let this two-fold caution be our guide: 
(i) Not to seek for types everywhere; (2) never to 
press the typical teaching to such an extent as to 
imperil the historical character of the Bible. Let it 
be remembered that exposition is not imposition^ 
nor is it interpretation to draw out what we have first 
read in. 


Our word type is derived from the Greek term 
tupos, which occurs sixteen times in the New Testa- 
ment. It is variously translated, e. g., twice print, 
John xx:25; twice figure, Acts vii:43; Rom. v:i4; fashion, Acts vii:44; oncemanner, Acts xxiii:25; 
once form, Rom. vi:i7; twice pattern, Titus ii:7; Heb. 
viii:5; and seven times example, I Cor. x:6, n; Phil. 
iii:i7; i Thess. 1:7; 2 Thess. 111:9; i Tim. iv:i2; I 
Pet. v:3. It is clear from these texts that the 
inspired writers use the word type with some degree 
of latitude of application. Nevertheless, we observe 
that one general idea is common to them all, one 
thought predominates; viz, likeness. A person, 
event, or thing is so appointed or fashioned as that 
it resembles another: the one is made to answer to 
the other in some essential particulars; the one 
matches the other in some prominent feature. The 
two things thus related receive the names of type 
and anti-type ; and the link which binds them 
together is this correspondence, or resemblance, of 
the one with the other. 

Types are a set of pictures, or object-lessons by 
which God would teach His people about His grace 
and saving power. The Mosaic system was a sort 
of kindergarten school; and yet some of the deep- 
est things of revelation are found in these ancient 
types. An old writer has said, " God in the types of 
the last dispensation was teaching His children 
their letters. In this dispensation He is teaching 
them to put these letters together, and they find 
that the letters, arrange them as they will, spell 
Christ, and nothing but Christ." 

In creation God uses one thing for many purposes 
One simple instrument meets many ends. For how 


many ends does water serve! And the atmosphere: 
it supplies the lungs, supports fire, conveys sound, 
diffuses odors, gives rain, wafts ships, fulfills besides 
one does not know how many other purposes. And 
God's Word is like His work, is His work, and like 
creation, it, too, is inexhaustible. How large a 
place the ark of the covenant filled in Israel! It 
was the central piece of the tabernacle; at it God 
gave communications to His servants; at it propiti- 
ation was made or completed; it led the people; it 
parted the waters of the Jordan; and yet what a 
type of good things to come the ark was. So also 
was the high priest, who, notwithstanding the 
varied service he rendered the people, was, in all 
that he did and in his very office and dress, an emi- 
nent type of Christ. Whatever God touches, be it 
a mighty sun or an insect's wing, a great prophecy 
or a little type, He perfects, for the place and the 
end for which He designed it. 

I. What are the distinctive features of types? A 
type to be such must possess three qualities. I. It 
must be a true picture of the thing it represents or 
typifies. Hence a type is a draft or image of some 
great feature of redemption. 2. The type must be 
of divine appointment. The type is designed in 
its original institution to resemble its antitype. 
Both are pre-ordained as constituent parts of the 
scheme of redemption. As centuries often lie 
between the type and its accomplishment in the 
antitype, of course infinite wisdom alone could in- 
stitute and ordain the one to be the picture of the 
other. Only God can make types. 3. A type al- 
ways prefigures something future. In all Scripture 
types there is prophecy. Prediction and type differ 


in form rather than in nature. This fact distin- 
guishes between a symbol and a type: a symbol 
may represent a thing of the present or past as well 
as one of the future e. g.,the symbols in the Lord's 
supper. A type always looks toward the future. 
Another thing in the study of types should be borne 
in mind, viz., that a thing in itself evil, can never be 
the type of good. 

II. Classification of types. They may be distrib- 
uted under three heads: I. Personal types; by 
which are meant those personages of Scripture 
whose lives illustrate some truth or principle of re- 
demption. Such are Adam. Melchizedek, Abraham, 
Moses, Jonah, etc. 2. Historical: in which are in- 
cluded the great historical events that under the 
guidance of Providence became striking fore- 
shadowings of good things to come: e. g., the deliv- 
erance from Egypt, wilderness journey, conflict for 
Canaan, etc. 3. Ritual: such as the altar, sacrifices, 
priesthood, tabernacle, etc. There are typical per- 
sons, places, times, things, actions, in the Old 
Testament Scriptures> and a reverent study of them 
leads into acquaintance with the fullness and blessed- 
ness of the Word. 

III. Characteristic differences in the types of 
certain books of the Bible. I. Those of Genesis 
are mainly personal and historical. It is the book 
of beginnings of sin and judgment; of mercy and 
forgiveness. Accordingly, here are types which 
connect with the person and work of the Deliverer: 
e.g. Adam, Melchizedek, Abraham, Joseph (see Rom. 
v:T4; Rom. iv:i-25; Gal. iii:6-i4; Heb. vii:;). 2. The 
types of Exodus have other features. They bring 
out more especially the precious doctrine of re- 



demption by blood, and its blessed consequences. 
The passover, appointment of the priesthood, and 
the tabernacle, are the proof of it. The blood of 
the paschal lamb lay at the foundation of Israel's 
relation with God, and it prefigured, at the same 
time, that great redemption which Christ in due time 
was to accomplish: Ex. xv:i3, 16, 17; I Cor. v:f. 3. 
Those of Leviticus differ from the preceding. Here 
we find types that contemplate access to God; res- 
toration to the divine favor when sin has come in to 
interrupt communion, and holiness of person and 
walk. Of course, the ritual of Leviticus has to do 
with sin, but it is the sin of a people who have been 
redeemed from bondage, and separated unto God; 
and this fact invests the types of the book with a 
peculiar character. 4. Those of Numbers are sug- 
gestive of the wilderness life and pilgrim journey of 
the people of God. 5. In the types of Joshua we 
encounter another phase of the general subject. 
These relate to the possession of the promised in- 
heritance, and the soldier life, as we may call it, of 
the saints. Joshua should be studied in connection 
with the Epistle to the Ephesians. The two books 
match each other as type and antitype. Further- 
more, the types of Genesis are mainly intended for 
the instruction of the individual believer; while 
those of the books that follow contemplate a cor- 
porate body of worshipers. 

IV. How much of the Old Testament is to be 
regarded as typical? Two extremes are to be 
avoided. First, the extravagance of the Church 
Fathers, as Origen, Jerome and Ambrose (revived in 
our day by Andrew Jukes). They sought for types 
in every incident and transaction recorded in Script- 


ure. Even the most simple circumstance was 
believed to hide in itself the most recondite truth. 
Mystery and mysticism were seen everywhere, in 
the cords and pegs of the Tabernacle, in the fruits 
of the field, in the yield of herds, in the death of 
one, and marriage of another. The serious objection 
to this system is, that it wrests Scripture out of the 
sphere of the natural and locates it in that of the 
arbitrary and fanciful: it ignores the historical facts 
and tends to destroy the validity of the record. 
Second, the undue contraction of the typical ele- 
ment. Prof. Moses Stuart expresses the view 
as follows: "Just so much of the Old Testament is 
to be accounted typical as the New Testament 
affirms to be so, and no more." This opinion as- 
sumes that the New Testament writers have ex- 
hausted the types of the Old, whereas these exam- 
ples of the typical bearing of the Old Testament 
are obviously but samples taken from the storehouse 
where many more are found. If they are not, then 
nothing is more arbitrary than the New Testament 
use of types. For there is nothing to distinguish 
these from a multitude of others in the Old Testa- 
ment to which the typical element so manifestly 
belongs. The view assumes that divine authority 
alone can determine the reality and import of types 
a view that applies with equal force against 
prophecy. Besides, it unwarrantably separates the 
two Testaments, and discards a large portion of the 
Old. Wherever the three characteristic features 
already mentioned are found in any event, transac- 
tion or person of the Old Testament there is a type- 



The title of the first book of the Bible is of very 
ancient date, and is well chosen. Genesis means the 
source or primal cause of things; and this book re- 
lates the beginning or origination of the earth and 
all that it contains. Genesis also is the beginning 
of the revelation of God to man, the Bible. Here 
are the germs, the deeply fastened roots of all that 
follows after. Here are the beginnings of the hu- 
man race, the family, the community and the na- 
tion, of sin and sacrifice, of promise and prophecy, 
of language, of arts, civilization and history. 

Broadly, the first five books of Scripture may be 
described thus: Genesis records the introduction 
of sin into the world, and its consequences; Exodus 
teaches the doctrine of redemption by blood; Levit- 
icus, access to God, worship, holiness; Numl> 
the pilgrim life of God's people; Deuteronomy, 
obedience, the blessedness of obeying God, the 
misery attending disobedience. 

Genesis falls naturally into two parts: Part I., 
chapters i-xi, which contain a very brief but very 
comprehensive history of the world from the crea- 
tion to the confusion of tongues; Part II., chapters 
xii-1, which narrate the history of Abraham and his 
family to the death of his great grandson Joseph. 
By far the larger portion of the book, it is thus 


seen, is occupied with the story of the chosen peo- 
ple, Abraham and his descendants; and from this 
twelfth chapter of Genesis to the close of the Old 
Testament, the Bible is devoted to Israel and to 
God's ways with that favored but disobedient race. 

The principal topics of the book are the follow- 

I. Creation, Gen. i. All readers must admire the 
simple majesty of this remarkable chapter. Three 
times the word "create" is used in it, verses I, 21, 
27, and each time it marks an epoch or era in the 
sublime process of the Almighty's work. Some 
timid Christians have been not a little disturbed by 
alleged scientific discoveries which appeared to 
antagonize if not demolish this Mosaic account of 
creation. They were needlessly alarmed. As time 
goes on and thoughtful men come to know more 
about the truth of this marvelous universe in which 
we dwell, they approach closer and closer to Moses' 
record. Never, perhaps, in the history of scientific in- 
vestigation, did Gen. i. stand so solidly and triumph- 
antly as now! "In the year 1806, the French 
Institute enumerated not less than eighty geolog- 
ical theories which were hostile to the Scriptures; 
but not one of those theories is held today" (Prof. 
Lyell, cited by Dr. Townsend). If the Bible is 
God's book, we may settle it definitely in our minds 
that it will come forth out of the smoke of battle 
with a lustre all the brighter for the conflict. This 
account of creation reveals the unity, power and 
personality of God. It denies polytheism one 
God creates. It denies the eternity ot matter " in 
the beginning" God made it. It denies pantheism- 
God is before all things, and apart from them. It 


denies fatalism God here as everywhere acts in the 
freedom of His eternal Being (Murphy). 

2. The Fall, chapter iii. "The story of the fall, 
like that of creation, has wandered over the world. 
Heathen nations have transplanted and mixed it up 
with their geography, their history, their mythol- 
ogy, although it has never so completely changed 
form and color and spirit that you cannot recognize 
it" (Delitzsch). 

One of the strange proofs of the truthfulness of 
this account, if proof were needed, is found in the 
universal presence of serpent worship in the olden 
times. It was practiced in China, India, Palestine, 
Greece, Ireland, Italy, Africa in short, all over the 
world. No other religious form was more com- 
mon, save sun-worship, with which this was usually 
associated. Our own continent bears testimony to 
its presence in some of the ancient remains. In 
southern Ohio there exists a huge snake made out 
of earth and stones, a thousand feet long or more, 
and which was once an object of homage on the 
part of the aborigines. The savage of Louisiana 
carried a serpent and sun, the symbols of his re- 
ligion, and tattooed them on his skin. In Mexico 
the serpent is found in the rude pictures of that 
strange people, the Aztecs, entwined with their 
most sacred symbols. The main elements of ser- 
pent-worship were, a tree, a woman, and a serpent. 
George Smith in his "Chaldean Account of Gene- 
sis" presents his readers with a fac-simile of a 
drawing found in the excavations about Babylon 
which has two figures sitting on either side of a tree, 
holding out their hands toward the fruit, while back 
of one of them is stretched a serpent. Singular 


that rational beings should pay their highest honors 
to a repulsive snake! 

It was one aim of the old Serpent, the Devil, in 
the temptation of our first parents, to put himself 
in the place of God as an object of worship. How 
well he succeeded, the universality of this form of 
idolatry attests. 

3. The Flood, chapters vi-viii. There are three 
supreme tragedies connected with the history of 
our race; the fall, the flood and the cross. The 
flood was God's judgment on the guilty world; Cal- 
vary was His judgment on the sins of His people in 
the person of their blessed Substitute, Christ. 

The sin which called down the judgment of 
heaven on the apostate race is referred to in Gen. 
xi:i-8. It was the intermarriage of the sons of God 
with the daughters of men. Who are meant by the 
"sons of God?" Many interpreters think the 
angels. There are very strong objections to this 
view. Good angels would not commit this sin: bad 
angels are not called "sons of God." The statement 
in Jude 6, 7, may mean that the sin of the fallen 
angels was spiritually what that of Sodom was 
carnally. Besides, the offspring of these unholy 
alliances are called men, which they could not be 
if the product of demons and women, Gen. vi:4, 5. 
It seems more natural and Scriptural to regard the 
"sons of God "as the pious Sethites. Already the 
separation of the godly from the wicked had taken 
place, Gen. iv:26. The former called themselves by 
the name of the Lord. Their sin was their break- 
ing through the barrier, ignoring their call and 
character, and their going over into the ranks of the 
wicked and contracting evil alliances with them. It 


was deliberate and universal apostasy from God. 

4. Origin of languages and nationalities, chapters 
x, xi. The tenth chapter anticipates the disaster 
recorded in the eleventh. The division of one race 
into tribes and nations was necessitated by the con- 
fusion of tongues. Sixty-nine are mentioned, of 
whom sixteen are independent and the rest affiliated 

This is another fruit of sin, the first sin. What a 
prolific thing sin is! Good may have arisen from 
the formation of separate nations and the partition 
of the earth among them; but how much evil like- 
wise. How these nations have trampled each other 
out in the rage of their huge passions. 

Tongues originated in judgment, the gift of 
tongues in grace. When God gave the law telling 
what man ought to be, He spoke in one language. 
When He told at Pentecost what He is, He spoke 
in many tongues. What a barrier difference of 
language is to intercourse among the peoples of the 
earth; what an obstacle to the progress of missions, 
and even to a full knowledge of the inspired word! 
No wonder John Trapp wrote (1660) this about it: 
"This great labor hath God laid upon the sons of 
men, that a great part of our best time is spent 
about the shell (in learning of language) before we 
can come at the kernel of true wisdom, especially 
Scripture wisdom." In the last book of the Bible, 
Babel, Shinar, tribes, nations and tongues are all 
gone; and paradise lost is succeeded by paradise re- 

5. The Chosen People, xii-I. This part of Gen- 
esis relates to the origin of the Hebrews and their 
history from Abraham to the emigrations into 


Egypt. In it we have (i) Abraham's call, xii. His 
ancestors were idolaters, Josh.xxiv:2. As a solemn 
protest against that system, as also the forming of 
the new stock from which the Messiah was to 
spring was Abraham led away from his country and 
friends. There seem to be two stages in his call. 
The first, when he left Ur and settled at Haran, Acts 
vii:3; Gen. xi:29-32. The second, when he departed 
from Haran and dwelt in Canaan, Gen. xi:i-6. He 
was 60 when he departed from Ur, and 75 when he 
went forth from Haran. He went out blindfold, 
but the God of glory led him by the hand, Heb. xi: 
8. (2) God's covenant with Abraham, xv. The 
parties are, God and the patriarch but God does 
all, pledges all, promises all; and it is all of grace, 
there being no conditions to be fulfilled by Abra- 
ham. (3) Ratification of the covenant, xvii. Cir- 
cumcision, its sign and seal added. (4) The cov- 
enant attested by God's oath, xxii. (5) The history 
of Isaac, xxiv-xxvi. Twice was the covenant ratified 
to Isaac; once at Gerar, then at Beersheba, xxvi. 
(6) The history of Jacob, xxvii-xxxv. The cov- 
enant was confirmed to Jacob at Bethel, xxviii (first 
time); at Bethel, xxxv (second time); at Beersheba, 
xlvi; when on the way to Egypt. These three patri- 
archs are the covenant-heads of Israel and the en- 
actment and ratification of the covenant are the 
prominent features of their lives. After the descent 
into Egypt by Jacob and his household, no more 
mention of it is made till the Exodus. (7) The his- 
tory of Joseph, xxxvii-1. 

6. Chronology. The dates here given are only 
approximate. The chronology of the Bible is diffi- 
cult to unravel. 


From Adam to the flood, 1656 years. 

From flood to call of Abraham, 367, or 427, if born 
at 130 of Terah's age. 

From call of Abraham to Jacob's migration into 
Egypt, 215. 

Sojourn in Egypt, 430. 

Abraham was about 100 years old when Isaac was 
born. Isaac was 59 and Abraham 159 when Jacob 
was born. Jacob's life overlaped Abraham's sixteen 
years. Jacob was 130 when he migrated to Egypt. 
Rawlinson is of opinion his "household" numbered 
at that time 3,400 souls, ("Moses," p. 2). Joseph 
was 39 when his father went down to him, and he 
survived Jacob about fifty-four years. 

Transmission of the ancient traditions. Noah could 
receive from his father Lamech what he had re- 
ceived direct from Adam: Shem could transmit 
it to Abraham, and he to Jacob. So that the ac- 
count of the Creation, the Fall, the Flood, and 
Abraham's call could pass through only five hands 
between Adam and Jacob. 

7. A prominent fact that Genesis teaches is the 
connection between sin and suffering. These two 
have been named the "Twin Serpents," and the 
name is well chosen. Sin, suffering; the one fol- 
lows the other as certainly as night the day. It is a 
fixed and imperative law. Expulsion from Eden 
follows the transgression of our first parents. Ex- 
pulsion from the presence of the Lord was Cain's 
punishment. The flood was the necessary issue of 
the admixture of the "sons of God" with the 
"daughters of men," Gen. vi:2, 3. It is always so; 
it is the history of man. He that sins must suffer. 
He that is profligate in his youth must have rotten- 


ness in his bones, a worm that never dies, and a 
tongue that no drop can cool, if he repent not. " Be 
not deceived; God is not mocked; whatsoever a 
man soweth, that shall he also reap," Gal. vi:?, 8. 
That! Not another kind of harvest, but that the 
product of the seed sown. 

8. Another great truth taught in this earliest 
record of human things is separation. No sooner 
had sin entered into the world than God began to 
call out His own servants and people from among 
the ungodly. From the beginning He drew the 
line of separation between His own and the wicked 
broad and deep. When His people crossed the 
line, went over into the camp of the enemy, cor- 
ruption ensued, and judgment fell on the guilty 
world. This principle holds still: " Come out from 
among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, 
2 Cor. vi:i;, 18. 

9. Dangerous Confederacies. We have an example 
of such danger in the oldest Union of which history 
speaks, that of Babel, and its huge tower. The an- 
nals of the race are full of the like disastrous efforts 
of men to unite in compact bodies independent of 
God, and in hostility to His will. The business of 
a Christian is to keep clear of all entangling alli^ 
ances. "Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love 
them that hate the Lord?" 2 Chron. xix:2. 



The second book of Scripture is closely connected 
with the first. Now might be read And: for the first 
verse of Exodus is a repetition of Gen. xlvi:8. The 
whole law is a conjunction, the schoolmen used to 
say. Exodus continues the story of the chosen 
people. The theme of the book is the deliverance 
of Israel from the oppression of Egypt, and their 
separation to God. The key-verse is Exodus xii:i3; 
the key-word, blood. 

The chief figure is Moses, whose life is divided 
into three periods of forty years each, forty years' 
training in the learning of Egypt; forty years' train- 
ing in God's school in the desert, Ex. iii;i; and forty 
years as the leader and law-giver of Israel. 

The book may be divided into three parts: 

I. Bondage of Egypt, chaps, i-v. 

II. God's intervention for Israel's deliverance, 

III. The Law at Sinai; The Theocracy consti- 
tuted, xix-xl. 

Exodus has three principal topics, viz.: the pass- 
over, the law, and the tabernacle; i. e., redemption, 
obedience, worship; life, loyalty, love. 

I. The Oppression, chapters i, ii. How long it 
continued before God interfered on behalf of Hi* 
suffering people, is not known. Probably it culmi- 


nated under the long reign of the great monarch 
Rameses II, "Child of the Sun," "whose proud and 
scornful face with its curling nostril and peculiar 
fall of the lower lip, with its long profile so majestic 
and beautiful, is seen on the monuments of Egypt 
to this day" (Stanley). It was this man, no doubt, 
to whom it was pretended the gods gave the fal- 
chion of destruction with the command, "Slay, and 
slay, and slay," who caused the Israelites to serve 
with rigor, and who made their lives bitter. God 
saw their affliction, and came down for their deliv- 
erance. "When the tale of bricks is doubled then 
comes Moses." This is the proverb which has sus- 
tained the Jews through many a long oppression. 

2. The Judgments on Egypt, chapters vii-xi. As 
we read the description of the ten plagues, we dis- 
cover that each of them is aimed at some idolatrous 
practice, or at some despotic feature of the gov- 
ernment of the Egyptians. It was not an ordinary 
river whose waters were turned into blood, but the 
sacred Nile, to which religious honors were paid. It 
was not the common cattle that died in the fields, 
but the calf of Heliopolis, the bull of Memphis, to 
both of which worship was given. It was a nation 
that worshipped the sun, that called its king "the 
Child of the Sun," which sat in darkness for three 
days. It was the governing class, the haughty men 
who wielded the absolute power of death, the proud 
and stubborn nation, whose first born were smitten 
with death. What God did in Egypt was for a sign 
to men. He poured shame and ruin on the beast- 
worship, water-worship, sun-worship, and tyranny 
of the land. 

3. The Passover, chapters xii, xiii. This is the 


prominent feature of Exodus, and one of the most 
significant ordinances of Israel's after-history. The 
fundamental doctrine of atonement, revealed in 
Genesis, speaks forth in this second book in unmis- 
takable terms. Israel was sheltered by the blood 
on the night when the angel-destroyer passed 
through the land. God's word about the blood was, 
"When I see the blood I will pass over you." 
They were a poor, enslaved, ignorant people, 
despised by their masters, degraded in their own 
eyes. But with the blood-sign of atonement upon 
them, they were "comely" in God's sight. "Thou 
seest no iniquity in Jacob nor perverseness in thine 
Israel," was Balaam's testimony not long after. 
Blood redeemed, sanctified, and delivered them. 

The exodus marked a new era in the history of 
the chosen people. The month of deliverance be- 
came the first of their calendar ever after. It was 
pre-eminently Israel's redemption whereby they 
were brought into new and more intimate relations 
with God, just as the death of Christ who " is our 
passover, sacrificed for us," is the eternal salvation 
of all believers. 

4. Sinai and the Law, chapters xix-xxiv. Save 
Calvary, no other spot is hallowed with such stu- 
pendous scenes as Sinai. Everything around tended 
to make the occasion a most impressive one. The 
massive grandeur of those rocky heights, the frown- 
ing peaks in all directions encircling the mount, 
with every outward form of animal and vegetable 
life withdrawn; the thunders and the lightnings; 
the voice of the trumpet, the descent of the dark- 
ness on the summit, all combined to render the rev- 
elation there given the most solemn and imposing. 


The law given at Sinai consists of two parts: the 
decalogue, and the secondary laws which flow from 
it. Lying at the base of all other legislation of 
the Jewish dispensation are the ten commandments. 
These "Ten Words," as they are called, constitute 
the very essence of the covenant with Israel. Con- 
sidered as a religious and ethical code, the deca- 
logue sums up in the tersest form all human duties, 
whether toward God or man. 

The secondary laws are those which springing out 
of the decalogue, were more particularly intended 
to regulate the conduct of the people in their rela- 
tions with one another, chapters xxi-xxiii. They 
may be thus grouped: Laws connected with the 
rights of persons, of property, the Sabbath and fes- 
tivals. They are civil, criminal and ceremonial 
laws. Israel constituted a theocracy. God was the 
Head and Sovereign; the people were to be a nation 
of priests unto Him; therefore holy, upright, pure 
and honest. 

5. The place of worship, the tabernacle, chapters 
xxv-xl. It was the Lord's dwelling-place among 
His people, xxv. It is commonly called "the tab- 
ernacle of the congregation," as if it were the meet- 
ing-place of the tribes. But this is not all the 
meaning of the phrase. The revision of the Old 
Testament has done good service in the cause of 
truth in rendering it uniformly, " the* tent of the 
meeting," for it was here that God and His people 
met together; here that He gave forth His oracles 
for their guidance and instruction. It is quite sug- 
gestive that He chose a tent for His dwelling. It 
denotes how completely and graciously He identi- 
fied Himself with H : s own. If they dwell in tents, 


so will He. If they journey, He will also Where 
they go He goes. "In all their affliction He was 

The tabernacle had two compartments, the first 
called the Holy Place in which were the golden 
Candlestick, the Table of Shew-bread, and the Altar 
of incense i. e., light, food, communion; the second, 
the Most Holy Place which contained the Ark of 
the Covenant, with its Mercy-seat or Propitiatory, 
and overshadowing cherubim the Throne of the 
Lord, that symbolized the Throne of Grace, Heb. 
iv:i6. The compartments were separated by a 
strongly woven veil, four fingers in thickness, the 
Rabbins say, with its three colors, blue, purple, and 
scarlet, in-wrought with symbolic figures. The 
Most Holy Place was shrouded in darkness, and 
was inaccessible save to the High Priest who en- 
tered it but once a year. A court surrounded the 
Tabernacle within which were placed the Altar of 
Sacrifice and the Lavar, and the Priests and Levites 
lodged. Kitto's estimate of the cost of the Holy 
Tent is $1,250,000; William Brown's, $1,500,000. 

That the Tabernacle was designed to embody 
vital truth and teach it to God's people is certain. 
In Heb. ix:g we are told it was "a parable for the 
time then present" an object-lesson to faith. What 
did it teach? (i) It symbolized God's presence 
with His people, Ex. xxv:8, "That I may dwell 
among them, Ex. xxix 144-46. Cf. 2 Cor. vi:i6. (2) 
It taught the necessity of holiness. God's dwelling 
with His people in the Tabernacle demanded holi- 
ness on their part, Lev. xx:26; xxi:8; Num. v:3, 
etc. It was His presence with them that made 
them what they were. He identifies Himself with 



His children now more intimately than then, Jno. 
xiv:23; Eph. ii:2O-22; I Jno. iv:i6, etc. Once He 
dwelt among His people, now He dwells in them. 
By and by there will be a more glorious and 
ineffable tabernacling with the redeemed, Rev. xxi: 
3, 4. (3) It was a figure of God's plan of bringing 
sinners to Himself, Heb. ix:23. By means of the 
blood of beasts the people were made ceremonially 
clean, and relationship with God was maintained. 
By the blood of Christ we are brought into eternal 
fellowship with Him. The altar of sacrifice set forth 
the truth about pardon, justification: the laver, 
cleansing, or sanctification. In short, the rites of 
the Tabernacle were a type of God's method of 
salvation. (4) It was a symbol of the incarnation 
of the Son of God, Jno. i:i4; " and the word was 
made flesh, and dwelt (tabernacled) among us." 
The Lord dwelt with His people according to His 
promise, Lev. xxvini, 12, in the Sanctuary. But 
now He has come to take up His permanent abode 
with them by "wedding Himself forever to their 
flesh." We note a sort of progress in the manifesta- 
tion of God to men first, His presence in the 
Tabernacle. Second, the Incarnation. Third, the 
indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Fourth, the descent 
of the New Jerusalem, the Heavenly Tabernacle, 
into the glorified earth. 

6. For the service of the Tabernacle Aaron and 
his sons were set apart as priests, together with the 
Tribe of Levi who were to execute the duties 
assigned them under the direction of the priests, Ex- 
xxviii; Num. iv. 

7. The pillar of cloud and of fire, Ex. xiii:2i, 22. 
Its first appearance was at Etham, " in the edge of 


the wilderness." This fact is very suggestive. Just 
when all roads and canals, cities and villages are left 
behind, and an untried and trackless wilderness lies 
before the people, then God provides for them the 
mysterious cloud which never leaves them till the 
long journey is over, and guidance is no longer 

(1) The cloud symbolized God's presence with 
His people, Ex. xiv:i9, 24, 25; xxxiii:9, 10. 

(2) The cloud served as a guide for the people, 
Ex. xiii:2i; Num. ix:i/, 18; Ps. Ixxviii:i4; Neh. ix: 
19, etc. They were incompetent to be their own 
guides. He alone who had brought them into "the 
great and terrible wilderness" was able to conduct 
them through it. Hobab's "eyes" would not do, 
Num. x:3i; only Jehovah was sufficient. 

(3) It adapted itself to their necessity, Neh. ix: 
19. It was a leader by day, a pillar of fire by night. 

(4) It was a shelter for the people, Num. x:34; 
Ps. cv:39. 

(5) It was a defense, Ex. xiv:i9; Deut. 1:30. In 
all the various offices and movements of the cloud, 
that which most impresses the reader is this, the 
minuteness ot God's care for His people, His 
personal interest in them. Nothing 's too small for 
Him to do for them, nothing too great. He studies 
their comfort, attends to every detail of their lives 
and their happiness. He is just as mindful of His 
children now. " But the very hairs of your head are 
numbered," Matt. x:3O; "casting all your care upon 
Him for He careth for you," I Pet. v:?. Over us 
also He throws the great aegis of His protecting 
care, and beneath His wings how safe we are! 

8. Israel's sojourn in Egypt. Is it possible to 


ascertain its duration? Can we reconcile the appar- 
ently discrepant statements of Scripture with respect 
to it? 

In Gen. xv:i3 God announced to Abraham that 
his seed would be a stranger in a land not theirs, 
and be afflicted 400 years. Stephen in his defence 
before the Sanhedrin quoted this prediction, and 
identified it with the oppression of Egypt, Acts 
vii:6-i9. One land is denoted, not two countries. 
This is clear from the promise contained in the 
prediction, "But in the fourth generation they 
shall come hither again," Gen. xv:i6. The afflic- 
tion, obviously, was to be outside of Canaan, for 
at its termination Abraham's seed was to be re- 
stored to their own land. It is generally held 
that the term "generation" is equivalent to a period 
of one hundred years. In Ex. xii:4O, 41, it is 
expressly stated that the duration of the sojourn in 
Egypt was 430 years. The Septuagint Version has 
a various reading "Now the sojourning of the 
children of Israel which they sojourned in Egypt 
and in Canaan was four hundred and thirty years." 
But those ancient translators certainly knew the 
meaning of the expression, " children of Israel," i. e. 
sons of Jacob. They would hardly be guilty of 
writing such nonsense as that Abraham, Isaac and 
Jacob were the children of themselves. 

The genealogy recorded in Ex. vi, Num. iii, etc., 
of the family of Moses and Aaron (Levi) appears 
to reduce the length of the sojourn to 215 years. 
But if no omission of links in this table be allowed, 
a very serious difficulty confronts us. The line runs 
thus: Jacob, Levi, Kohath, Amram, Moses. Ko- 
hath, Moses' grandfather, according to Ex. vi, had 


four sons, Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. The 
male descendants of these four men numbered at 
the time of the Exodus, 8,600, Num. iii:28. If we 
assign one-fourth of this number to Amram, Moses 
father, we have over 2,000 males belonging to his 
family; and the number must be doubled to include 
the females 4,000 and more in that one household 
I Chron. vii 123-27 contains another genealogy cover 
ing the same period as that of Ex. vi. According t<- 
this table there are at least ten generations betwee*" 
Jacob and Joshua the son of Nun, whereas in Ex. 
vi there are but five between Jacob and Moses. 
Moreover, Joshua seems to have been grown at the 
time of the Exodus. How are we to reconcile this 
apparent discrepancy between the genealogies of 
Exodus and I Chron.? Thus: the list of names 
given in Ex. vi is not complete; some of the gen- 
erations lying between Jacob and Moses are dropped 
out. It is not uncommon to find such omissions in 
genealogical tables of Scripture. In the most im- 
portant of all, that of Christ in Matt, i, three suc- 
cessive generations are thrown out, viz: the imme- 
diate descendants of Athaliah. If we allow for 
such omissions in Ex. vi, the difficulties are cleared 

If now we conclude that the sojourn was of 430 
years' duration what are we to do with Paul's state- 
ment in Gal. iii:!/, to-wit: "And this I say, that 
the covenant that was confirmed before of God (in 
Christ), the law which was four hundred and thirty 
years after, cannot disannul, that it should make 
the covenant of none effect"? If we understand 
the apostle as dating from the original enactment 
of the covenant with Abraham (Gen. xv), then he 


is in conflict with Moses and Stephen whose 
chronology makes the period between that trans- 
action and the Exodus to be about 645 years. If 
they are right, or rather, if our interpretation of 
them be right, then is Paul's date wrong to the 
extent of two hundred years and more. Is it 
credible that the man who wrote 2 Tim. iii:i6, "All 
Scripture is given by inspiration of God," and who 
claimed for his own teaching an authority identical 
with that of Jesus Christ Himself (i Cor. vii), 
should have blundered two hundred years and more 
in a date with which he was perfectly familiar? 

We believe the key to the difficulty, and the solu- 
tion of the entire question, lies in the apostle's use 
of the word "confirm before," or confirmed forth, 
as the original may mean. This word {prokuroo) 
is never employed in the New Testament, nor so far 
as we have discovered, in the Greek version of the 
Old, to designate the institution of a thing, a first 
transaction; it signifies to ratify, or confirm a thing 
already in existence. 

A single instance of its use may be given. In 
Gen. xxiii we read that Abraham bought a field of 
Ephron, paying the stipulated price for it in the 
presence of witnesses, and it " was made sure unto 
Abraham," verse 17 (Sept. "Establish"). After- 
ward, Abraham buried Sarah in Machpelah, and so 
the field with the cave in it "was made sure unto 
Abraham," verse 20. In this case the word in the 
Sept. is Paul's "confirm." Nothing can be plainer 
than this. The burial of Sarah ratified the transac- 
tion which had been previously concluded between 
the two men. 

The original institution of the covenant is re- 


corded in Gen. xv, and was accompanied by a sol 
emn sacrifice, the voice of God, and a supernatural 
darkness. But this covenant was afterward con- 
firmed, as in Gen. xvii, when its sign and seal, cir- 
cumcision, was added to it. It was again confirmed 
when Abraham offered Isaac, Gen. xxii. Nor was this 
all. It was confirmed to Isaac, Gen. xxvi: and to Ja- 
cob at Bethel and Beersheba, Gen. xxviii, xxxv, xlvi. 
The last confirmation was to Jacob when he was on 
the way to Egypt in the wagons which Joseph had 
sent to convey him thither. No otherwise can we 
understand the repeated declarations of Scripture 
that Isaac and Jacob were associated with Abraham 
as the divinely chosen heads of the covenant, cf. Ex. 
ii:24; vi:4-8; xxxii:i3; Lev. xxvi:42; I Chron. xvi: 
16, 17, etc. These three men, these and no others, 
are the covenant men. But how could Isaac and 
Jacob be united with Abraham in it? Certainly not 
in the institution of the covenant, for in that 
Abraham stood alone. They could only be in the 
subsequent acts in which God renewed and ampli- 
fied its terms, and in which He made these two 
men parties to it with Abraham. And these subse- 
quent acts are precisely the confirmations and rati- 
fications to which Paul alludes in Gal. iii:i7- 

The last confirmation, in conjunction with the 
visible manifestation of God, transpired at Beer- 
sheba when Jacob was on the way to Egypt, Gen. 
xlvi:2-4. It is believed that Paul dates his 430 
years from this point, and this was precisely 430 
years before the exodus, Ex. xii:4O, 41. Therefore, 
Paul perfectly harmonizes in chronology with Moses 
and Stephen. 


The chief design of this third book of Moses is 
indicated by its title. It is the hand-book of the 
priests their guide-book. Naturally it follows 
Exodus. The tabernacle having been set up, and 
its services arranged, the duties of its ministers 
would next be defined. Like Exodus, Leviticus 
has three main topics: Sacrifice, priesthood, feast. 
Holiness is the key-word; xvii:ii; xx:7, are the 

Leviticus falls into two general parts: 

I. Access to God, chapters i-xvi 

II. Sanctification of the people, xvii-xxvii. 
There are five sections in the book: i. Offerings, 

i-vii. 2. Consecration and investiture of the Priests, 
viii-x. 3. Holiness both of person and life, xi-xv. 
4 Atonement and righteousness, xvi-xxii. 5. Feasts, 

That which strikes the reader of this book is the 
predominance of sin. The Levitical legislation is 
mainly occupied with it. Sin, man's sin, sin before 
and after justification, is the secret of Judaism and 
the secret of the gospel: Face to face with the 
Mosaic ritual we are face to face with sin. God's 
holiness is another prominent feature of this book. 
He must punish sin; for His righteousness demands 
reparation for human guilt. In the sacrificing priest 



and in the blood that streams from the victim, 
in the fire that consumes it, in the ashes, in the 
water, in the incense and the prayer, in the distance 
between Himself and the people, in the darkness 
and loneliness of the Most Holy Place, His 
dwelling, we see the solemn portraiture of God's 
holiness, and His purpose to deal with sin according 
to its deserts. The multiplicity of the rites with 
which this book is filled is proof of the insufficiency 
of such a system to take away sin. The continued 
round of sacrifices, the altar always wet with blood, 
brought sin to remembrance rather than judged and 
removed it, Heb. x:$. But we shall not forget that 
this book is largely prophetic. Its wondrous, 
complex typology announces the coming of One by 
whom all here prefigured shall have its complete 
fulfillment. Christ is the supreme center about 
which these ordinances turn; and they are luminous 
to us now because of the light He sheds upon them. 

I. The Sacrifices of Leviticus, chapters i-vii. They 
are pictures of the one offering of Christ. He is 
the sum of them. As no one of them was a perfect 
representation of Him and His work, five were 
instituted in order to set forth something of the 
perfection of His sacrifice. There are three parties 
to a sacrifice: the offerer, the priest and the offering. 
The priest acts as mediator. The priest and priestly 
action imply God and the sinner who are to be 
brought together in peace. The offering points 
unmistakably to sin done, and to the absolute need 
of expiation. The offerer is the offender who is 
regarded as identified with His sacrifice. 

The main features of the sacrifices are substitution, 
imputation, death. By substitution is meant that the 


life of the victim is given for that of the offender. 
In imputation the punishment due the guilty party 
is charged or imputed to his sacrifice. This 
transference was symbolized by laying of the hands 
of the offerer on the head of the victim. And death 
was the execution of the penalty incurred by the 

In the application of sacrificial types we see all 
the elements just mentioned combined in the person 
and work of the Lord Jesus. He is at once the 
Priest, the Offerer, and the Victim. In His death 
there is priestly action, Heb. 1x114; J n - x '-!7 18. 
His offering is Himself, Heb. x:io. He and those 
for whom He acts, are identified, Jno. x:n; Gal. 

The offerings of Leviticus are divided into two 
classes, viz: "Sweet savour," which are three 
burnt, meat, and peace offerings. The other classes 
were for expiation, viz: Sin and trespass offerings. 

The burnt offering (Lev. i) heads the list because 
it had some of the distinctive features of all the 
others, and was the morning and evening sacrifice 
to Jehovah, Ex. xxix:42. It was for acceptance and 
atonement, vss. 3, 4. It was wholly given to Him, 
and in it He had His satisfaction. It sets forth the 
devotedness of Jesus, His complete self-surrender 
to God, Eph. v:2. Its application to believers is 
in Rom. xiiii, 2. The meat-offering, which was 
vegetable, was the complement of the burnt offering 
(Lev. 2), and seems never to have been presented 
alone save in the case of Cain. It followed a bloody 
sacrifice; it could not be accepted of itself. Cain 
came to the Lord with the fruits of the ground. 
He stood in nature. He refused to acknowledge 


himself a sinner needing atonement. Abel came as 
one under condemnation, but as one who knew of 
the provisions made for pardon. Abel came with 
blood. "Without shedding of blood there is no 
remission," Heb. ix:22. Christ is the fulfilment of 
the meat-offering the holy, spotless One. But it 
is only as He is apprehended as the sacrifice for 
sins that He becomes the food of the soul. Without 
passing through death He could not have been the 
meat-offering, Jno. xii:24. The peace-offering, (Lev. 
3) was a communion feast; the Lord, the priest, and 
the offerer had each his portion. The sin and 
trespass offerings (Lev. 5) contemplated expiation. 
The bodies of the victims were burned without the 
camp, as if charged with sin and so judged and 
consumed, Heb. xiiiiii, 12. It was the blood of the 
sin offering alone which was brought into the Most 
Holy Place, and sprinkled on the mercy seat, Lev. 
xvi:i4. Having made a perfect offering for sin 
Christ appears in the presence of God for us, Heb. 
ix:n, 12, 24. 

The sweet savour and the sin offerings are alike 
in this, that blood is the foundation of all right 
relationship with God. In both kinds the offerer 
and the victim are identified. They differ in this; 
the sweet savour were for acceptance and worship. 
In them what was presented unto God was grateful 
to Him, and on the ground of it He and the 
worhiper communed together. In them sin is not 
the predominant idea. It is in the sin-sacrifice. 
The essential feature in this last is propitiation. 
He who came with it came not so much a wor- 
shiper as a sinner not for communion, but for 
pardon. He came to receive in the person of his 


substitute, the victim, the punishment due to his sin. 
In the sin-offering the penalty is prominent: in 
the trespass offering ransom. In the first, expi- 
ation is prominent; in the second, satisfaction. 
Both are fulfilled in Christ who was made sin for us, 
and who gave His life a ransom for many. 

2. Consecration of Aaron and his sons, Lev. viii. 
This ancient ceremony is full of significance. The 
high priest and his sons were alike washed with 
water, vs. 6. Aaron was then anointed with the 
holy oil, the sons were not, vs. 12. (Oil is the 
emblem of the Spirit, I Jno. ii:27; 2 Cor. i:2i, 22.) 
The sin-offering was then slain and the blood 
sprinkled, vs. 15. Then the blood and the oil 
mingled were put on Aaron and the sons. Eminent 
type! Jesus was anointed with the Spirit before 
His sacrifice, the disciples not. After His death 
and resurrection, the Spirit was shed forth upon 
them, Acts ii; Jno. vii:39; xvi:/. 

3. Laws respecting food, etc., chapter xi. Why 
should the great God occupy Himself with such 
matters? (i) He is concerned in the physical well- 
being of His people. He has redeemed their 
bodies, and these are objects of His regard as well 
as the soul. Here is the best system of dietetics 
ever appointed. (2) In their food and dress the 
Jews were to be a separate and "peculiar" people. 
(3) They were to be holy. All the animals they 
were permitted to eat are of cleanly habits. Israel 
was taught holiness to the Lord in all things. 

4. Uncleanness, leprosy, etc., chapters xii-xv. These 
laws touch some delicate matters; but studied in a 
devout and reverent spirit they yield immense profit 
to the soul. Ruskin tells that his mother compelled 


him when a youth to read right through the Bible, 
even the difficult chapters of Leviticus; these espec- 
ially held him in greatest restraint, and most influ- 
enced his life. The underlying truth in all is sin, 
its transmission, defilement, incurableness by man, 
and God's provision for its removal. 

5. Feasts, chapters xxiii-xxv.ig. There are eight 
of them (if we include the Day of Atonement), and 
they were designed to remind the people that they 
were God's tenants-at-will; that the land was not 
their's, but His; that their time was not their's, but 
His; that their persons were not their own, but His. 
Moreover, in the great jubilee, which was the fiftieth 
year, the sublime doctrine of earth's final redemp- 
tion, and its restoration to God, and its deliverance 
from the curse of sin, was constantly taught. What 
a blessed day that will be when all the people of 
God even as to their bodies shall be delivered, when 
the lost inheritance shall be restored, and nature 
shall sing her glad song of redemption! 

6. Doctrine of the Redeemer, chapter xxv:24~55. 
This is a precious section of our book, for it is 
strikingly illustrative of the work of Christ as the 
Redeemer, (i) The redeemer in Israel was to be 
one near of kin with him who was to be redeemed, 
vss. 25, 48. So Jesus, Heb. ii:i4-i8. (2) He was to 
redeem the person, 47-50; Ruth iv:4,5. So Jesus 
has bought His people, I Cor. vi:ig, 20. (3) He 
was to redeem the property that had been disponed 
away, vss. 25, 29. So, too, Christ hath redeemed 
for us our lost inheritance, I Pet. 1:3-5. (4) He was to 
avenge the brother on his enemies, Num. xxxv:i2. 
The "avenger of blood " seems to have been a near 
kinsman of the one injured. And Christ will in due 


time take vengeance on the enemies of His people, 
Deut. xxxii:43; 2 Thess. i:6-8. 

7. Obedience, and disobedience, and their consequences^ 
chapters xxvi, xxvii. The blessedness of obedience 
is first mentioned and commended, xxvi:i-i3. Dis- 
obedience and its sure punishment is next painted 
in the darkest hues, xxvi:i4-3g; Dut on repentance 
God will have pity and restore, xxvi 140-46. In this last 
section of the chapter there is a distinct prophecy 
of Israel's final restoration and blessing, " I am the 
Lord." Leviticus teaches the great doctrines of 
purity, separation, sanctification, obedience, service. 
May it be ours to learn the priceless lesson! 

Any study of Leviticus which omits the sixteenth 
chapter would be defective and unsatisfactory. 
Accordingly some brief notes are devoted to this 
very suggestive subject the day of atonement in 
Israel. In each of the first four books of the Bible 
there is one chapter which comes to us with peculiar 
force, to which we turn almost instinctively fof 
typical instruction. Genesis xxii, which records 
that strange and impressive scene, the offering of 
Isaac by his own father, is the first: Exodus xii, 
which contains the supreme doctrine of redemption 
by blood, is the second: Leviticus xvi, the atone- 
ment chapter, is the third: Numbers xiv, the 
chapter which narrates Israel's unbelief and failure, 
is the fourth. 

i. Lev. xvi stands alone. No mention is made 
elsewhere of what took place on that solemn day. 
It seems to be closely connected with the death of 
Nadab and Abihu, vs. I. These two young men 
had died because of their disobedience and pre- 
3umption. The priesthood had failed. The insuf- 


ficiency of all that had been hitherto appointed was 
thus made manifest. And so the day of atonement 
was established as a still deeper display of God's 
grace and love, and of the inadequacy of Mosaic 
rites to take away sin. 

2. It was observed on the seventh day of the 
tenth month, and was to be a day of humiliation, 
vss. 29, 31. Affliction of soul answers to a contri- 
tion of heart. The people laid aside all secular 
employment. The sense of sin was to be deepened 
to its utmost intensity in the national mind and ex- 
hibited in appropriate forms of penitential grief. 
It was a day of godly sorrow working repentance. 

3. It occurred but once a year. As seven is the 
perfect number, so a year is a full and complete 
period. There is no time that does not fall within 
the year. It was the day of the Mosaic economy. It 
pointed to the supreme fact: "Christ was once 
offered to bear the sins of many," Heb. ix:28 (the 
word for "once" is strong once for all). There is 
no repetition of His sacrificial work. In the whole 
year of time there is but one atonement day, Rom. 
vi:9, 10; Heb. ix:26. 

4. The high priest. The day imposed upon him 
the most weighty duties. We are told that one 
week before the day came he left his own house 
and dwelt in the sanctuary. During the night pre- 
ceding it he was denied sleep, and on the day itself 
he fasted until evening. His dress was not that of 
"beauty and glory" which on other great festival 
occasions he wore, but one of pure linen, vs. 4. No 
gold glittered on his brow, nor tinkled in his steps, 
nor mingled its brilliancy with the royal colors of 
his robe. All was laid aside. One cannot but think 


of the inspired description of the high priest's great 
anti-type, the Lord Jesus, Phil. ii:6-i I. He humbled 
Himself, put off His robes of glory when He came 
down into this world to offer Himself a sacrifice for 
sin. It was an earth-like garment He wore while 
He was here, though ever and anon He let it swing 
open for a little that the star of royalty over His 
heart might be seen! 

It would seem, from vs. 17, that in the immediate 
acts of expiation Aaron was alone. He was neither 
to be accompanied nor assisted by any one. Strik- 
ing type of Him who accomplished expiation for 
the sins of believers: "Be not far from me, for 
trouble is near; for there is none to help," Ps. xxii: 
II ; "Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am 
full of heaviness; and I looked for some to take 
pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I 
found none," Ps. lxix:2O. On the day of atonement 
in Israel, Aaron was alone, unassisted. On the day 
of Calvary Jesus was alone. All alone He wrestled 
in the garden; all alone He hung on the cross. 
Lover and friend were put far from Him: even the 
Father hid His face from His suffering Son. By 
Himself He made purification of sins, Heb. 1:3. 

5. The offerings of the day: First, there was the 
sacrifice for the sins of the priestly family, vss. 6, 
7, II. The high priest could do nothing in the 
work of this great day until propitiation for him- 
self and his house had been made, Heb. v:3; ix:7. 

Next, the sin-offering for the people which con- 
sisted of the two goats, and constituted the main 
features of the day. They were designed by lot, 
the one "for Jehovah," the other "for Azazel," the 
scape-goat. The goat for Jehovah was slain; the 


sins of the congregation were symbolically trans- 
ferred from the people to the goat " for Azazel," 
and solemnly put upon its head, after which it was 
led into the wilderness, and let go. Mindful of the 
variety of opinion that prevails as to the meaning 
of the expression " for Azazel," the writer does not 
hesitate to express the belief that it signifies " for 
removal," " for the complete bearing away." 

The two goats form but one offering. In vs. 15 
the slain goat is described as a "sin-offering for the 
people." Both animals were charged with the sins 
of the congregation; and the reason for the use of 
two instead of one, as in the ordinary sacrifice, is 
probably that given by Keil, viz., the physical im- 
possibility of combining all the features that had to 
be set forth in the sin-offering in one animal. The 
cognate truths of atonement and remission are 
vividly taught in this sacrifice. The slain goat sym- 
bolizes the doctrine of atonement or covering of 
sins; the scape-goat their removal. God has His 
claims upon the sinner which must be met the 
punishment of his guilt. The sinner has his needs 
likewise, viz., the putting away of his sin, its com- 
plete removal; and this is wrought for him cere- 
monially by the dismissal of the goat into the wil- 
derness, bearing the load of sins upon him. The 
punishment of sin, the pardon of sin these are the 
truths taught by the two goats. That it all has its 
fulfillment in Christ needs hardly to be said. The 
language of this chapter is carried over into later 
Scripture and applied to Him, Isa. liii:6, 12; Jno. i: 
29; 2 Cor. v:2i; I Pet. ii:24, etc. 

6. Entrance of the high priest into the most holy 
place. Three times on this eventful day he passed 


through the veil into the Divine Presence, the She- 
kinah. The first was with the holy incense and 
the censer. The sacred room was clouded with the 
smoke from the burning incense. The smoke 
served as a thin veil between himself and the pres- 
ence, "that he die not," vss. 12, 13. 

The second entrance was with the blood of his 
own sacrifice which he sprinkled seven times on 
and before the mercy-seat. Atonement was thus 
made for his own sins and those of his house their 
trespasses were "covered " from the presence of the 
Lord. For the holy priesthood was involved in sin, 
was polluted and defiled, and nothing but the blood 
could cover the guilt. 

The third entrance was with the blood of the 
slain goat, which was also sprinkled at the mercy- 
seat; and when this third entrance had been made 
the priest returned to the holy place and sprinkled 
the united blood of the two sacrifices at the veil, and 
put of it on the horns of the golden altar, Ex. 
xxx : i o. 

It was for the rebellions against the government 
of God, for resistance to His grace, the transgres- 
sions, the iniquities, and the unknown sins that 
had brought the holy house into such a state of 
moral pollution, which made expiation a necessity. 
Atonement was made for the holy of holies, for the 
holy place, for the veil, for the golden altar, and for 
the brazen altar in the court. There was a call for 
blood everywhere in the sanctuary, and for all its 
parts, else the throne of God could not abide in 
Israel. What a picture all this is of God's estimate 
of sin, and of atonement for it! " Without shed- 
ding of blood there is no remission." If God taught 


His people of the olden time the great doctrine of 
atonement by such a vivid object-lesson as this, how 
is it possible, now that the true sacrifice has been 
offered for sin, how is it possible for a man, for any 
man, ever to be saved but by the blood? 

7. No blood went into the presence of God into 
the most holy place but that of the sin-sacrifice; 
none other touched the mercy-seat save this. Listen 
to that awful, tremendous word written by the in- 
spired Paul: "He hath made him to be sin for us 
who knew no sin, that we might be made the right- 
eousness of God in him" made sin! Not only a 
sin-offering, as some would have it; but sin! Mon- 
tanus in his Latin translation renders vs. 9 thus: 
"And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the 
Lord's lot fell, and shall make it sin." If this be the 
real meaning of the verse, then we know something 
more of what Paul meant in 2 Cor. v:2i. With His 
own blood Jesus has passed into heaven itself, now 
to appear in the presence of God for us, Heb. ix:i2, 
24, etc. "As far as east is from the west, so far 
hath He removed our transgressions from us," Ps. 
ciii:i2. The one perfect offering has been made. 
The account of sin is canceled. The cry of wrath 
is hushed. Believe! 


The title of this fourth book of the Bible is prob- 
ably derived from the numbering of Israel of which 
we have the record in the opening chapters. But it 
hardly indicates the object of the book, for the cen- 
sus forms but a small portion of it. The book con- 
tains much important matter both of a historical 
and legislative character. The key-word is pilgrim- 
age; the key-verse, Num. x:2g: "We are journeying 
unto the place of which the Lord said, I will give it 
you; come thou with us, and we will do thee good; 
for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel." 

Numbers falls into three clearly marked parts: 
First, the departure from Sinai, the account of the 
organization of the tribes, incidents by the way, and 
arrival at Kadesh-barnea, chapters i-xii. Second, 
unbelief and rebellion upon the report of the spies, 
chapters xiii-xix. For thirty-eight years thereafter 
the people marched and counter marched in the 
wilderness until the generation -which came out of 
Egypt was dead, except Caleb and Joshua. The 
period is passed over in almost total silence. The 
nation was under the divine rebuke, and is treated 
as if its relations with God were suspended. Third, 
the second arrival at Kadesh, chapters xx-xxxvi. 
This portion of the book is crowded with great 
events, the death of Miriam, and Aaron, Balak and 


Balaam; the refusal of Edom to allow a passage 
through his territory, and the wearisome journey 
around Edom, and the final appearing of Israel in 
the plains of Moab opposite Jericho. Among the 
principal topics the following may be mentioned: 

1 . Census of the army, and the probable number of 
Israel. The quota raised from each of the tribes in- 
cluded all the able-bodied males from twenty years 
old and upward. It was an army which, in the 
condition specified, was a universal conscription. 
Altogether it amounted to 603,550 men. The same 
number is given in Ex. xxxviii:26. Some are dis- 
posed to estimate three non-combatants for each 
soldier, others four; in which cases the whole host 
of Israel would consist of about 1,810,000, or about 
2,414,000. Others still reduce the number to one 
million and a half. But at any rate, a vast host was 
that which wandered here and there in the penin- 
sula of Sinai for forty years. Skepticism interposes 
a grave objection to the inspiration of this record. 
After swelling the numbers of Israel to the utter- 
most, and after exaggerating the sterility of the 
wilderness, and the scanty supplies to be had from 
any quarter in the whole region of territory, it asks: 
How could such a multitude in such a place for so 
long a time be maintained in life? Leave God out 
of the account, and the difficulty is insoluble. Arith- 
metic triumphs. Bring Him into it and all is plain. 
Reflect whether that Infinite Being who swings the 
world upon His arm and feeds the creatures thereof 
with His hand could not support twice the number 
for twice the time. The question resolves itself 
into this: Was God with His people or not? 

2. Organization of Israel, chapters ii-iv. The no- 


tion might be entertained from a hasty reading of 
this history, that the journeys of the wilderness 
were marked by confusion and disorder. No mis- 
take could be greater. God was their Leader, and 
He is the Author of order, not of confusion. There 
was an appointed place of worship; an appointed 
ministry of worship; appointed seasons of worship. 
The civil and military arrangements in Israel were 
as complete as the religious. Scarcely had the re- 
deemed people put the Red sea between them and 
the land of their bondage when they were thoroughly 
organized. The army was divided into four grand 
sections or corps, with three tribes to each division, 
and with a commander for each. Each grand divis- 
ion had its standard, each tribe its ensign. It is not 
possible to determine what these standards were. 
Tradition has it that they represented the cheru- 
bim the lion, the ox, the man, the eagle. In the 
encampment they formed a sort of hollow square, 
with three tribes lying on each side of the square. 
The tabernacle was in the center of the square. 
On the march, six tribes were in the van, and six in 
the rear, with the tabernacle in the center between 
these two great divisions. The position of the 
sanctuary was thus a central one, always central. 
God was in the midst of His people, their Protector 
and Helper, Ps. xlvi:5. The Levites were organized 
into three divisions corresponding with the three 
sons of Levi, Gershom, Kohath, and Merari, and 
their special duties assigned them. Thus order 
reigned throughout the entire multitude. 

3. Laws of Numbers. A few as specimens are 
here given, (i) Laws touching personal habits, and 
conduct or deportment toward one another, chapter 


v. Here are very wise sanitary regulations which 
municipal governments would do well to imitate. 
England for many years struggled to destroy lep- 
rosy among its people, and succeeded only when it 
completely isolated all lepers. Moses enacted such 
a law three thousand years before England. No 
wonder Israelites who observe Moses' law as to per- 
sonal habits are the healthiest of people. (2) Law 
of the Nazarite, chapter vi. The Nazarite was not 
an order, monastic or otherwise; but he was one who 
took a vow in order to a more complete consecra- 
rion to God. The vow was voluntary, and limited 
as to time. Three things the Nazarite practiced: 
abstinence from wine, i. e., renunciation of the en- 
joyments of life; unshorn hair, i. e., subjection (i 
Cor. xi:io); keeping himself undefiled from contact 
with a dead body, i. e., renunciation for the time of 
the obligations arising from natural relations. "The 
Nazarite was to be a living type and image of holi- 
ness." (3) The ordinance of the red heifer, chapter 
xix. Out of the ashes of this sacrifice the water of 
purification was prepared. It is alluded to in Heb. 
ix:i3. Throughout the book there is no mention of 
the laver. The water of purification appears to 
have taken the place of the laver in some measure 
during the pilgrim journey of Israel. 

4. Israel's unbelief and failure, chapters xiii, xiv. 
In about two years after quitting Egypt they were 
at Kadesh, on the borders of the promised land. 
The report of a majority of the scouts created con- 
sternation among the people. Giants held the 
land; the cities were walled and very great, and the 
inhabitants strong. Thus ran the report. Panic- 
stricken, their first thought was to march straight 


back to Egypt; their next, to stone Moses and 
Aaron, Caleb and Joshua, the men of faith. Want 
of courage, downright cowardice, one would say, 
was the reason of their conduct. But in Heb. 111:19 
it is very differently interpreted. " So we see that 
they could not enter in because of unbelief." And 
this their unbelief struck at all God had declared 
Himself to be, and promised to do for them, (i) 
It was an impeachment of His word. He had said 
He would bring them into the land and give it them 
for an inheritance. He even had taken an oath to 
Abraham that He would do so. And they by un- 
belief said He would not. God said " yes ; " they 
"no." God said, "I will, I surely will;" they said, 
"Thou wilt not." (2) It was an impeachment ot 
His power. Were the Anakin stronger than the 
army of Egypt? Were cities and walls mightier 
than the Red sea? They had seen the display of 
His power. Could they not rely on Him for even 
greater displays of it? (3) It was an impeachment 
of His goodness. In manifold ways had He showed 
His love for them. He had delivered them from 
Egypt; been their Guide through the wilderness 
journey, had fed them by the way. And now in 
full view of Canaan, could His mercy fail? Unbe- 
lief, " It ties up the hand of God." Twice Jesus 
marvelled; once at faith, Lu. viiig; at unbelief, Mark 
vi:6. Luther said, " Nothing damns but unbelief." 

5 . The sin of Moses and Aaron, chapter xx : I - 1 3 . It 
has been said that God's people fail in that for 
which they are noted. Job's patience gave way; 
Abraham's faith wavered; Moses' humility broke 
down. At first sight it might seem a small matter 
for which these two eminent servants of God, Moses 


and Aaron, should be excluded from the land of 
promise. But if the reader will ponder the narra- 
tive of their trespass, and the passages which else- 
where refer to it, he will find that their's was a most 
serious offence. Petulance amounting to unjustifia- 
ble anger was one element in it, Ps. cvi:32, 33. The 
patience which had distinguished his course for so 
long a period suddenly failed, and he " spake unad- 
visedly with his lips." Disobedience was another 
element. God had commanded him to "speak" to 
the rock; whereas Moses struck it twice with the 
rod. Unbelief was also in the sin. This appears in 
his action and his words. He called the people 
"rebels/' and yet he was himself at that moment in 
rebellion, Num. xxvii:i4; "For ye rebelled against 
my commandment." " Must we fetch you water out 
of this rock?" His vexation and anger carried him 
into such lengths of unbelief and sin! Furthermore, 
the " rock" was a type of Christ, I Cor. x:4. Once 
already it had been " smitten " by the divine com- 
mand, Ex. xvii;6, 7. To smite it a second time was 
to destroy the type; for Christ the antitype dieth 
but once; death hath no more power over Him. 
Taking all the circumstances into account, the sin 
was heinous, for it was rebellion against God. The 
punishment seems severe, but it was not dispropor- 
tionate to the sin. 

6. The brazen serpent, chapters xxi:5-9; Jno. iii:i4, 
15. Evil and its remedy. Many and striking are the 
analogies between the brazen serpent and the Sav- 
iour. A few may be pointed out. (i) Poison of the 
reptiles, sin. (2) The remedy, serpent of brass; 
Christ made in the likeness of sinful flesh and fot 
sin. (3) The remedy lifted up, Christ lifted up. 


(4) Healed by looking, faith in Christ, saved by a 

7. Balaam and Balak, chapters xxii-xxiv. Ba- 
laam's history is one of the strangest of the Bible. 
A most gifted man, he was utterly without principle, 
was the slave of the lowest and most despicable of 
passions greed. Three inspired writers (2 Pet. ii: 
15, 16; Jude 11; Rev. ii:i4) stamp his character 
with unqualified condemnation. There was in him 
perversion of splendid endowments, perversion of 
conscience, total selfishness. Unable to curse Israel 
and so gain Balak's reward, he insidiously coun- 
selled their corruption by unholy alliances with the 
Moabitish women, and by the licentious rites of 
idolatry. His evil counsel worked only too well to 
Israel's sorrow and hurt. But the avaricious prophet 
paid dearly for his reward; he fell by the spears of 
the people he sought to ruin, and died, not as the 
righteous, but as the fool. 

8. Aaron s death, chapter xx 123-29. Before his 
death Aaron, by command of the Lord, was stripped 
of his priestly robes, which were put upon his son 
and successor, Eleazar. His priesthood could not 
pass into the heavens; it would continue only on 
earth. There is but one priest who has carried His 
priesthood with Him into the glory the Lord Jesus 
Christ, Heb. iv:i4. 


The name Deuteronomy means second law. It 
suggests or may suggest that the book contains a 
second code of laws, or a recapitulation of laws al- 
ready given. It is rather a summary of what it most 
concerned the people to keep in mind, both of the 
Lord's doings on their behalf, and of what they 
should do when settled in Canaan. The key-word 
is obedience; key-verse, chapter iv:i. The contents 
of the book are distributed into four parts: (i) The 
discourses of Moses, chapters i-xxx. In the dis- 
courses Moses gives a brief summary of the events 
that had taken place during the past forty years 
chapters i-iv; next he recapitulates the law of Sinai, 
with modifications, and more specific directions as 
to various ordinances, chapters v-xxvi; and then he 
shows the advantage of obedience, and the awful 
punishment for the neglect of the law, chapters 
xxvii-xxx. (2) Committal of the book to the cus- 
tody of the Levites, and a charge to the people to 
hear it read once every seven years, chapter xxxi. 
(3) The song of Moses, and the blessing of the 
twelve tribes, chapters xxxii, xxxiii. (4) Moses' 
death and burial, chapter xxxiv. 

From chapter i:3 we learn that it was at the end 
of the forty years' wandering, and just one month 
and seven days before the passage of the Jordan. 


that Moses pronounced the discourses contained 
in this book. It is believed that it took seven days 
to deliver the discourses and farewell. The old 
generation that came out of Egypt, with very few 
exceptions, was sleeping in the wilderness. An- 
other generation had arisen during the forty years, 
and trained to hardness by the wilderness discipline, 
it was to make the conquest of Canaan. They were 
now stationed in the plains of Moab. The good 
land of which they had heard so much was parted 
from them only by the Jordan. They seemed to 
have been eager, hopeful, resolute; and just such 
counsel, warning, and promises as Moses gives them 
were what they needed. How solemnly did the ac- 
cents of the well-known voice fall on their ears 
how impressive was the majestic presence of that 
extraordinary man, whose age was now one hundred 
and twenty years, and yet without a trace of physi- 
cal decline or mental decay for they knew it was 
for the last time they should see and hear him. 

The circumstances under which the discourses of 
the book were delivered, explain largely its peculi- 
arities. A certain " school" of interpreters is quite 
sure that Deuteronomy was not written by Moses, 
that it is of much later date. Various considera- 
tions are put forward in support of this view. Now 
it is immensely significant that this book is quoted 
often in the New Testament, and its authority rec- 
ognized as fully as that of any other. Ninety times 
it is quoted and alluded to by the Saviour and the 
apostles. The threefold use of the word by our 
Lord to repel the assault of the tempter, exhibits 
His confidence in the Scriptures; but the texts He 
uses are all from Deuteronomy. Is it credible that 


the Son of God would quote from a spurious docu- 
ment? Besides, the writing of this book is directly 
ascribed to Moses, Deu. xxxi:24, 25; and if it was 
not, then it is forgery, which none but an infidel 
would dare allege. If we keep in mind that Moses 
here addresses a new generation of his people, that 
the time is at the close of his own life, and just as 
the people were about to cross the Jordan and enter 
upon their inheritance, that they required such in- 
struction and warning as is here given them, we 
shall find the key to all the difficulties that have 
been raised against its genuineness. 

I. Deuteronomy is in great part prophetic. It has 
Canaan in immediate prospect. Modifications of 
laws and ordinances are made to suit the changed 
conditions of the Israelites. Moses is fully con- 
scious of his own prophetic standing. He desig- 
nates himself as the representative of that other 
Prophet in due time to be raised up for Israel, chap- 
ter xviii:i5-i9. The hope of Israel as to the fulfil- 
ment of the promise of the Messiah, rested mainly 
on this prediction of Moses, Jno. {145; vi:i4; Acts 
iii:22, 23. The intimations of Israel's future, with 
which Leviticus closes, are drawn out more at length 
in this book, chapters xxvii-xxxiii. It is evident to 
the seer (chapter xxviii) that the warnings and aw- 
ful curses pronounced against disobedience would 
prove ineffectual, and the result would be followed 
by a dispersion of his people among the nations 
of the earth. And yet their continued existence is 
prophetically secured. They were not to become 
extinct, in spite of their frightful trials and age-long 
persecutions and tribulations; they were to abide, 
until God's purpose in their sufferings should be ac- 


complished, and then restoration, blessing, and 
peace, never again to be taken away, were to be 
their portion, chapters xxx, xxxii. 

2. Blessings and curses of the two Mounts, chapter 
xxvii. When the land had become theirs, the peo- 
ple were to set up great stones and plaster them 
with plaster. Upon this smooth surface they were 
then to inscribe the law. The law contained the 
conditions on which the land was to be enjoyed. 
Strict observance of it alone guaranteed continued 
possession. Then the people were to divide into 
two companies. Six tribes were to stand on Mt. 
Gerizim to bless, and six on Mt. Ebal to curse. 
The blessings are not here recorded, although from 
Josh. viii:34 it may be inferred they were. The 
curses are written out in full, and are twelve, to cor- 
respond with the twelve tribes, it is thought. It is 
noteworthy that both the law and the curses are 
found together on the same mount, viz., Ebal. Law 
and the curse going together! Most suggestive. 
"As many as are of the works of the law, are under 
the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that 
continueth not in all things written in the book of 
the law to do them," Gal. iii:io; Deu. xxvii:26. 
The dreadful list closes with this sweeping impre- 
cation. No blessing here; only appalling maledic- 
tions on the disobedient! Hopeless is the case of 
him who is under law for righteousness for it is 
written, " By the deeds of the law there shall no 
flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the 
knowledge of sin," Rom. iii:2O. 

3. A gracious promise, chapter xxxiii:2 5. "And as 
thy days, so shall thy strength be." There are 
many " great and precious promises " in the book, 


and even in this chapter, but this exceeds. What a 
general promise it is. Our days, all our days, till 
life shall end. What a particular promise it is; for 
it takes up our days, each day, and day by day to 
the end. What a varying promise it is; for it adapts 
itself to each day, and every kind of day, black or 
bright, prosperous or adverse, happy or miserable. 
Surely it is a glorious promise! But there is more 
in it. When one read to "Uncle Tom" the words 
0f the Lord Jesus, "Come unto me all ye that labor 
and are heavy laden," the poor slave said, "Them's 
good words, but who says 'em?" These, too, are 
good words, but it is all important to know who says 
them. One who knows our days, Ps. cxxxix:i-6. 
One who orders all our days, Ps. xxxvii:23. One 
who measures our days, Ps. xxxi:i5. One who loves 
His people through all the days, Jer. xxxi:3. One 
who will be with His people through all the days, 
Matt. xxviii:2O. "And, lo, I am with you all the 
days, even unto the end of the world." 

4. Moses' death and burial, chapter xxxiv. It was 
the belief of the ancient Jews that Joshua wrote the 
account of Moses' death, contained in this chapter. 
However that may be, evidently it was long ago 
added to the book. The end of the great leader 
and law-giver was at length come. It might still 
have seemed a triumphant close was in store for the 
aged prophet. "His eye was not dim, nor his nat- 
ural force abated." No look of a dying man had 
he, as he climbed to the top of Pisgah. It was a 
deliberate march to death and burial. From the 
summit he saw the goodly land he "saw it with his 
eyes, but he was not to go over thither." It was his 
last view. From that height he came down no 


more. Josephus' pathetic description of Moses' end 
may be here inserted: "Amidst the tears of the 
people, the women beating their breasts and the 
children giving way to uncontrolled wailing, Moses 
withdrew. At a certain point in the ascent he made 
a sign to the weeping multitude to advance no fur- 
ther, taking with him only the elders, the high 
priest Eleazer, and the general Joshua. At the top 
of the mountain he dismissed the elders, and then, 
as he was embracing Eleazer and Joshua, and still 
speaking to them, a cloud suddenly stood over him, 
and he vanished in a deep valley." In that strange 
land, the land of Moab, Moses, the servant of the 
Lord, died, "And he buried him in a valley," "And 
no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." 
On the grave of the law-giver in the mountains of 
Moab, on the grave of an infinitely greater than 
Moses, the Lord Christ, the darkness settled. No 
one knows of either with any certainty. 


The book of Joshua is the record of the conquest 
of Canaan and its partition amongst the chosen peo- 
ple. Moses, the representative of the law, could 
bring Israel to the borders of the inheritance, but 
he could not lead them into it. Joshua (Je-hoshua, 
Jehovah the Saviour) alone could. "The law was 
our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we 
might be justified by faith/' Gal. iii:24. 

The book is divided into two parts: Part I., chap- 
ters i-xii, the conquest; part II., chapters xiii-xxiv, 
distribution of the land among the various tribes. 
The key-word is possession; the key- verses are, 
Josh. i:2, 3. 

The history of Israel continues through this and 
the following books. The historical portions of the 
Old Testament are devoted to the subject of the 
theocracy, its practical working, and the failures of 
the chosen people to attain that for which more es- 
pecially they were called of God. Joshua was writ- 
ten not long after the events it narrates. We can 
not enter now into the proof of it. But let the 
reader ponder chapters v:i, 6; vi:25; xxiv:26, etc. 
If, as Lias and others hold, it was written not later 
than fifty years after the events recorded in it, then 
Deuteronomy was in existence at that remote 
period; cf. chapter viii 130-34; Deu. xxvii:2-8. 


1. A lesson in courage, \\2-g; v:i3-!5. Joshua was 
Moses* successor as the leader of Israel, Num. xxvii: 
18; Deu. xxxiv.g. To him was given the supreme 
task of leading the people into the inheritance and 
conquering it for them. What he needed was faith, 
assured confidence in God who had promised to 
give them the land, and courage to execute his com- 
mission; and these he had in an eminent degree. It 
is remarkable how large a place courage has in the 
Bible. Count its " fear nots" if you can. "Add to 
your faith virtue," i. e., courage, 2 Pet. 1:5. Bold- 
ness is an essential element in courage, to do and to 
dare. All successful workers for God have it. Paul 
had it but longed for more of it, Eph. vi:i8-20. 
(See Acts iv:i3, 29, 31, etc.). Courage has its root 
in faith, and faith its root in the Word of God. 
See what wonderful use Joshua's faith makes of 
God's promise after the perilous defeat at Ai, vii:g: 
"And what wilt thou do unto thy great name?" 
What a mighty plea that is! As if his defeat were 
God's defeat! This is faith and courage combined. 
A fearful man, a discouraged man, never accom- 
plishes much in this world. " They were afraid to 
confess him." " I was afraid and went and hid 
thy talent in the earth." Fear is a failure. " Be 
strong and of a good courage." Read and study 
Heb. xi. 

2. The passage of the Jordan, chapters iii, iv. It 
was a memorable event, this transit across the 
ancient river, one to be perpetuated forever, iv:i-3, 
20-24. The passage of the Jordan meant for Israel 
the exchange of the wandering, nomad life, for one 
of settled habits and permanent abode. It meant 
the organization of the Hebrews into a nation, and 



the development of their national life; the preserva- 
tion of the knowledge and truth of God, and the 
custody of the revelation which was now being 
given. The conquest of the little strip of territory 
called Palestine, where God was to make Himself 
known as no where else in all the world, where in 
due time His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, was 
to appear, was an era in the world's history. Let us 
note some things respecting it. 

(i) The order of the passage, iii:6. The ark of 
the covenant of the Lord, borne by the priests, was 
to lead the march. The reason is assigned in iii:io. 
It was to strengthen the faith and courage of the 
people. If God open the river for them to pass 
over, is it not a token and a pledge that He will do 
for them all He has promised as to the possession 
of the land? God goes before them, for the ark was 
His throne; there His presence was displayed, Ex. 
xxv:22. A mighty struggle confronted them; a task 
so great, an enterprise so difficult, that human sa- 
gacity and prowess were no match for it. God goes 
before, to encounter, Himself, the difficulties and 
the dangers, and to open for His people a way which 
they could not open for themselves. See Jno. x:3, 
4. Jesus is our Leader. (2) The time of the pas- 
sage, iii:i5. The barley-harvest occurred about the 
end of March or in early April. (See ii:6, a proof 
of the exact knowledge of the writer of Joshua of 
the time and circumstances.) The river was at its 
flood, bank-full, from the melting of the snows in 
the Lebanon. At such times, travelers tell us, it 
rushes on like a " mill-race." From its rise at the 
foot of the Lebanon to its grave in the Dead Sea, 
the Jordan has a fall of 3,000 feet more than fifteen 



feet to the mile. It is likely the two spies swam it; 
and it may be they were selected for this reason; 
but it was simply impossible that the mixed multi- 
tude of men, women, children, and flocks and herds 
should do so. God chose this season that His 
power might be manifested. It was nothing for 
Him to arrest the swift volume of water which that 
day was pouring down to the Dead Sea; for at His 
bidding once before, the waters of the earth had 
found their proper beds and settled there, Gen. i:g. 
Thus the passage of the Jordan was an additional 
proof and pledge of His love and care for them, and 
therefore they could enter on the conquest of their 
inheritance with confidence and courage. 

3. Capture of Jericho, chapter vi. Jericho was the 
key to the land. It was immensely important that a 
signal victory should be achieved at this point. If 
the invaders failed here all was lost. But they could 
not fail, for God marched at the head of their col- 
umn. What an extraordinary assault it was, to be 
sure, if such it can be called. A procession round 
the walls for seven days; not a word spoken nor a 
sound heard, save the blowing on seven horns by 
seven priests, until the seventh day arrives, when 
they were to make the circuit seven times and 
the army was to "shout" at the close ot the sev- 
enth round. Nothing more! Think of General 
Grant trying to take Vicksburg with bands of 
music, or Von Moltke the great fortress of Metz 
with its splendid French army by drum and fife! 
Could anything be more absurd? Bishop Hall 
thinks the soldiers and people of Jericho made 
themselves merry with the spectacle of those sol- 
emn processions round their city. No doubt the 


Jews heard many a bitter gibe at the stupendous 
military skill of their General Joshua. But if so, 
their pleasantry was not for long. The "shout" 
brought down the walls. 

(1) Obviously, there is not the slightest connec- 
tion between the means and the end. No sword 
drawn; no engine planted; no sappers and miners 
to undermine the walls; no assault made. They 
were to go round the city day after day, and then 
go into camp at the close of each investment. 
Nothing more. 

(2) It was a sublime lesson in faith, Heb. xi:3<D, 
" By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they 
were compassed about seven days." Faith appears 
in their obedience to the divine directions. They 
believed God. The Jews knew quite well that the 
means were not adequate to the end. But God had 
spoken; this was enough for them. It was not 
something which faith did or to which faith 
prompted, but something God had promised, and 
faith acted on the ground of the promise. Faith 
can dare anything where God leads the way. Faith 
removes mountains. 

(3) The miracle was calculated to inspire the 
Jews with confidence and enthusiasm. They were 
invading Canaan. They were to encounter immense 
difficulties and obstructions in the execution of their 
divinely appointed mission. They saw these huge 
walls tumble down by a "shout" of their army; and 
they could not but see how strong and mighty the 
God is who marched at the head of their forces. 
How the event must have filled and thrilled their 
hearts with courage and confidence! Ps. xliv:i-3. 

(4) It was intended to strike terror to the hearts 


of the Canaanites. We know from the record that 
it had this effect. The hearts of the idolaters 
melted within them, and they fought for a cause al- 
ready lost. 

4. The extermination of the Canaanites, Deu. vii:i-6; 
Josh. vi:i7-2i. This is a serious topic; for it in- 
volves the justice and holiness of God, and our sense 
of right. Of course, in a brief paper such as this, it 
is impossible to discuss it as it should be. How- 
ever, some things must be set down which may tend 
to help the reverent student of the Bible to a cor- 
rect view. God gave this commandment. Why? 

(1) Palestine was Israel's by gift and grant of 
God, Gen. xii:?; xiii:i5; xxvi:3, 4, etc. The Jews, 
therefore, were conquering their own territory. 
Their right to dispossess the Canaanites is based 
upon the right of God to govern this world, and to 
dispose of any portion of it according to His sov- 
ereign pleasure. 

(2) The Canaanite probation, Gen. xv:i6. For 
four hundred years at least God had borne with 
them. Ample opportunity they had to amend their 
ways, and obey God. They blindly refused, held 
steadily to their evil pursuits, and sank deeper in 
sin, and at length judgment broke down upon them 
in appalling severity. 

(3) Their moral character, Lev. xviii '.21-25, 27-30; 
xx:i-24; Deu. xii:29~32, etc. What is told us of 
them in the Bible, presents them in the darkest pos- 
sible terms. Their wickedness was something colos- 
sal. Profane history gives them the like character. 
(The reader is referred to any competent writer on 
the Phoenicians, who formed part of the original in- 
habitants of Palestine.) They were fallen into total 



apostasy; into immoralities the most revolting 
Human sacrifices, licentious orgies, worship of de- 
mons, practices which cannot even be alluded to 
were common. Cruelty the most atrocious, crimes 
the most unnatural and defiling were a part of their 
religion. It was simply a question whether Israel 
should be kept pure by their extermination, or all 
knowledge and truth of God be swamped. The two 
peoples could not live together. 

(4) God punishes nations for their sins in time, 
for nations have no existence as such in the life be- 
yond. Israel was expelled from the same land for 
their apostasy from God, and their rejection of the 

(5) It was terrible surgery this; but it was sur- 
gery, and not murder: the excision of the iancer, 
that the healthy part may remain. The words of 
Carlyle touching Cromwell's work in Ireland, fit this 
case: "An armed soldier, solemnly conscious tc 
himself that he is the soldier of God the Just, a 
consciousness which it well beseems all soldiers and 
all men to have always armed soldier, terrible as 
death, relentless as doom; doing God's judgments 
on the enemies of God! It is a phenomenon not of 
joyful nature; no, but of awful, to be looked at with 
pious terror and awe." 

5. Defeat at Ai, chapters vii, viii. It was caused 
by the disobedience of Achan. Achan's sin sprang 
from covetousness, vii:2i. This is the root of sin; 
Gen. iii:6; Jas. i:i5. (i) Sin robs God. All the 
metals were to be brought into the treasury, vi:iQ 
(2) Sin delights in what God abominates, vii :n 
"The accursed thing" refers probably to the Baby- 
lonish garment Achan stole. (3) Sin breaks cov. 


enant with God, vii:n, 15. All believers are in cov- 
enant relation with Him. (4) Sin involves others 
as well as the sinner himself. The crime of Achan 
was imputed to all Israel. vii:n. Sin never stops 
short with the transgressor. (5) Sin brings defeat, 
shame and death. 

6. Battle of Beth-horon, chapter x. A word as to 
the disputed point in this record touching the "sun 
standing still." The writer does not accept the 
view that this is poetry, vs. 13, and no miracle was 
wrought. He believes that God interposed to grant 
what His servant had asked. A miracle should not 
be magnified beyond the purpose for which it was 
wrought. God observes a kind of parsimony in His 
supernatural operations. What Joshua really asked 
for was, prolongation of light, as the astronomer 
Kepler has said. And it is believed that light was 
supernaturally given him in answer to his prayer. 
He who gave the Hebrews light in Egypt while 
their neighbors, the Egyptians, sat in darkness, 
could easily give light over the restricted region. 

7. Partition of the land, chapters xiii-xxi. By this 
division every family of Israel had its homestead. 
On the basis of it, restoration of alienated property 
was made at the year of jubilee. When the Jews are 
restored to their own land again they will settle 
there according to this ancient distribution. The 
land is God's, Lev. xxv:23. It can never be dis- 
poned away finally. 

Joshua's farewell to Israel is mingled with warn- 
ing and pathos. There is in his words the entreaty 
of the father, and the command of the soldier. Let 
his noble resolve be that of us all: " But as for me 
and my house, we will serve the Lord." 


The book of Judges occupies a special place in 
the canon of Scripture. It describes the condition 
of Israel during the interval between the conquest 
of Palestine and the time of Samuel. It is the record 
of a remote and turbulent age. " In those days there 
was no king in Israel, but every man did that which 
was right in his own eyes." This sentence, so often 
repeated in the book, expresses the freedom and in^ 
dependence, the license and disorder, of the time. 

It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to fix the chro- 
nology of the Judges. Paul's word in Acts xiii:20 
(A. V.), does not settle the disputed points. I 
Kings vi:i must stand until more light is had than 
we now possess to justify its rejection. The Revis- 
ion of Acts xiii:2O affords no help: " He gave them 
their land for an inheritance, for about 450 years, 
and after these things, he gave them Judges until 
Samuel the prophet." According to this, the 450 
years run out at the allotment of the inheritance by 
Joshua, and do not cover the time of the Judges. 
The most satisfactory explanation of the period of 
the Judges is that the years of Israel's oppression 
by their heathen neighbors are not reckoned in the 
480 years of I Kings vi:i. The structure of the 
book is peculiar. The historical succession of 
events is regular till the close of Samson's judgeship 



(i-xvi), where it is broken off abruptly, and then fol- 
lows the theft of Micah, the raid of the Danites, and 
the war between Benjamin and the other tribes, 
xvii-xxi. The history reopens with First Samuel. 
The book, accordingly, is divided into two parts: 
Part I., chapters i-xvi; part II., xvn-xxi. The key- 
word is disobedience; the key-verses, ii:ii, 12, 15, 
16. Why does this sacred writer drop the story of 
the Judges with xvi, and turn his attention to the 
robbery of Micah and the wickedness of the men of 
Gibeah? These chapters (xvii-xxi) are not a mere 
appendix. They form an essential part of the de- 
sign of the Spirit in this Scripture. In part I. (i-xvi) 
we have the disastrous consequences of Israel's dis- 
loyalty to Jehovah as to the corrupt heathen in the 
land. They departed from God, and practiced idol- 
atry. God's protection was then withdrawn from 
them, and they fell under the'power of their heathen 
neighbors, whom, in violation of an expressed com- 
mand, they not only tolerated, but formed alliances 
with. Then they cried to the Lord, and He sent 
the Judges for their deliverance. Apostasy, punish- 
ment, repentance, mercy and deliverance; this was 
the round Israel went for centuries. In the second 
part (xvii-xxi) the internal consequences of unfaith- 
fulness are portrayed; the degradation, the savage 
cruelty, the lawlessness and profound immorality of 
the people. Interspersed with this mournful ac- 
count is the beautiful story of Ruth, which chrono- 
logically belongs to the time of the war with Ben- 
jamin, Ruth i:i. Dark as the general record is, it is 
a joy to find it relieved by examples of faith and 
self-secrifice, such as the book of Ruth discloses. 
I. Character of the Jews at the death of Joshua, Jud. 


i; ii:6-io; cf. Josh. xxiv:3i. The men of the con- 
quest were distinguished for faith and courage. 
They were free in great measure from the unbelief 
and pusillanimity which dishonored their fathers of 
the wilderness. The generation that took Canaan 
was one of the noblest that Israel ever had. They 
were so because of their training in the wilderness, 
and the splendid qualities and example of their 
great leader, Joshua. Note: (i) One devoted and 
faithful man may induce his followers to serve the 
Lord: Joshua did so. (2) But a man to do this 
must himself be a true servant of the Lord: Joshua 
was such. (3) The removal of great leaders is 
often followed by a falling back from the vantage 
gained. It was so in this case. Israel did not long 
remain in the place where God under Joshua had set 

2. Apostasy of the succeeding generation, 11:11-23. 
There is something startling in the swiftness with 
which the Israelites degenerated, iii:g. (Caleb's 
nephew was raised up for their deliverance.) The 
declension began among the children of the first 
occupiers of the land. Singular that those who 
must have remembered God's mighty deeds at the 
Jordan, at Jericho, and Beth-horon, should so soon 
forget their Deliverer and King, ignore the cov- 
enant so solemnly made at Joshua's death, and shut 
their eyes to the stone witness under the oak, Josh. 
xxiv:26. Surprising as it is, it is, alas! perfectly 
human. Men naturally gravitate toward evil. Placed 
in a position of responsibility, they always fait. 
The history of the race is a series of falls and recov- 

Seven times, it is recorded, they "did evil in the 


sight of the Lord," iii:;, 12; iv:i; vi:i; viii:33~35; 
x:6; xiiin. Seven apostasies, seven servitudes to 
the seven heathen nations, seven deliverances! The 
most wonderful thing is sin except God's infinite 
patience and mercy. 

Note: Mercies despised, pledges to God broken, 
become the foundation for towering iniquity. "The 
depth of a man's fall is in proportion to the momen- 
tum acquired in bursting the bonds which held 
him." The children of godly parents, the children 
of prayers and holy teaching, who despise their 
birthright, become the Esaus of the world. Noth- 
ing is more fatal to the Christian calling than alli- 
ance with the wicked. He who makes the experi- 
ment of such entangling alliances, will speedily dis- 
cover that his power is lost; that what he builds 
with the one hand, he pulls down with the other. 
Separation, this is God's call, 2 Cor. vi:i7, 18. 

3. Israel's enemies, iii:i-6. Besides the remnant 
of the Canaanite nations, whom the Jews failed or 
refused to expel from the inheritance, and who now 
sore vexed them, a new and formidable enemy ap- 
pears in the history the Philistines. Like Israel, 
they seem to have entered Palestine at a compara- 
tively late date; so their name would indicate 
"strangers" or "aliens." They oppressed the He- 
brews longer than any of the other heathen nations, 
viz., forty years, xiii:i. They were distinguised for 
the strength and the variety of their armor. The 
most complete vocabulary of arms in the Old Tes- 
tament is taken from the panoply of a Philistine 
warrior, I Sam. xvii:5~7. They seem to have amal- 
gamated with the remnant of the giants at any rate, 
men of gigantic stature and strength were found 


among them. Their chief deity was the grotesque 
idol Dagon, which had the trunk fashioned as a 
fish, and the hands and head of a man. No believ- 
ing reader of the book can question the hand of a 
wise and just God in the troubles Israel endured at 
the hands of the Philistines. These enemies were 
used as a scourge of Israel. The chosen people 
found, as all backsliders must find, that God is as 
true to His threatenings as He is to His promises. 
They deserted the arm of strength; of necessity 
their arms became powerless. God's justice could 
not tolerate their sin; His love would not cast them 
off entirely. "Thou wast a God that forgavest 
them, though thou tookest vengeance of their do- 
ings," Ps. xcix:8. 

4. The Judges^ iii-xvi. Fifteen different persons, 
including Deborah, acted in this capacity during 
the period of the book. These officers are not to 
be confounded with the ordinary judges of the The- 
ocracy, cf. Ex. xviii 121-26. They were men raised 
up for a specific purpose and endowed with extra- 
ordinary powers. Their duties were political rather 
than judicial. Most of them were military leaders, 
who rescued the people from the oppression of the 
heathen. They were not a regular succession of 
governors, but extraordinary officers who were 
roused by the inward impulse of God's Spirit to de- 
liver their countrymen from the thraldom of their 
enemies. The judge had no power to make laws, 
for these were given by God; nor to explain them, 
for that was the province of the priest; they were 
upholders of the law, defenders of religion, avengers 
of crimes, particularly of idolatry and its attendant 
vices. They governed Israel as the subordinate 


agents of Him who was the supreme Ruler of the 
people, by whom also they were called to their 
high office. The most prominent of the judges 
were Othniel, iii:Q; Deborah and Barak, iv; Gideon, 
vi; Jephthah, xi; Samson, xiii:25. 

5. Moral features of this period. The book of 
Judges is the history of Israel's failure as the wit- 
ness of the Lord. Joshua sets before us the energy 
of faith, which, grounding itself on the promise of 
God, and trusting Him, loyally addressed itself to 
the appointed task. In Judges we see the miserable 
state of the nation now become unfaithful; and at 
the same time the gracious interventions of God for 
their deliverance from the calamities into which 
their unfaithfulness had brought them. These in- 
terventions correspond with revivals in the history 
of the Christian church. The Hebrews found it 
more convenient to use the heathen people than to 
expel them; and so these became "thorns in their 
sides, and snares for their feet." Note some of the 
bad effects, (i) Idolatry, with its licentious ac- 
companiments, was largely practiced, xvii. We read 
often of the Baalim, Ashteroth, of the groves, of 
idols and idol-worship. These plural names (Baa- 
lim, Ashteroth) are significant, one general object 
of worship, but idols without number of that ob- 
ject. Just as in Italy there is but one madonna, but 
sne has a hundred different images and shrines. 
(2) Frequent and rash use of vows was another 
feature of this age. It was contracted mainly from 
the heathen, particularly the Phoenicians. At 
Carthage, old Hamilcar exacted of his son Hanni- 
bal, the vow, so solemn in its origin, so grand in its 
consequences, of eternal undying war with Rome 



By the way, the name Hannibal points to Baal, as 
also Asdrubal, Maherbal, etc. So hasty and disas- 
trous vows were common in the times of the Judges. 
Witness that of all Israel against Benjamin, xxi:i; 
of Jephthah, the most tragic of all, xi:30, 31; of 
Saul, which almost cost Jonathan his life, I Sam. 
xiv:24. (3) Lawlessness, amounting almost to an- 
archy, prevailed. "The highways were unoccupied 
and the travelers walked through byways," v:6. 
How vivid the picture! The thoroughfares were 
abandoned, because infested, no doubt, by highway- 
men, who robbed as they listed, and there was no 
strong government to restrain. Travelefs had to 
creep through byways to escape the dangerous 
roads. (See xvii:6; xviii:i, 7; xix:i, etc.) (4) Crimes 
seem to have been common. Witness the raid of 
the Danites, xviii; the awful wickedness of the men 
of Gibeah, xix; and the fierce slaughter of Benja- 
min by the other tribes, xx. (5) Stubborn persist- 
ence in evil was another feature of the time, ii:i7- 
19; Ps. cvi '.34-43. This is a world-picture. Sin 
abounds, but grace super-abounds. Human obsti- 
nacy and unbelief never defeat the gracious purpose 
of God. 

Brief notes on some of the Judges are appended. 

Shamgar, iii:3i. The account of him is confined 
to this single verse. Yet it is enough to mark him 
as a hero. It reminds one of the mention of Jabez, 
I Chron. iv:g, 10, or of the condensed histories in 
Heb. xi. With an ignoble weapon, a paltry ox- 
goad, Shamgar wrought a deed of valor which set 
him among the Hebrew worthies. How much 
may be done by the most trifling means if one is 
working with God! Moses had only a rod, Samson 


a jaw-bone, Jonathan a spear, Esther her beauty and 
her tongue; but with them all was the power of 

Deborah and Barak, iv, v. Deborah appears in the 
line of Israel's deliverers. Although no warrior, 
she inspired with courage and enthusiasm the war- 
riors of her people, and the victory was in reality 
her's. There had been no deliverance had not this 
woman lifted up her voice like a trumpet. "A 
mother in Israel," she named herself. Mater patriae, 
the mother of her country, her people might have 
called her. Woman's influence who can measure 
it? Sarah, Rahab, Ruth, Deborah, Hannah, Eliza- 
beth, Mary, Dorcas: Blandina the martyr, Monica 
the mother of Augustine, the mother of the Wes- 
leys, the daughter of John Knox, Jennie Geddes 
their names, and of scores more, will never be 

Gideon, vi, vii. Let us not attribute his hesitancy, 
his request for more proof that God had called him, 
to unbelief. It was his native modesty that held 
him back; the agony of uncertainty his need of 
being sure and doubly sure. Then, forward! It is 
thus with great souls. Luther shrank from the 
mighty task set him; Knox hid himself; Calvin 
sought to flee till Farel with his tremendous adjura- 
tion arrested him. Gideon was fitted at length for 
decisive service. His three hundred were men of 
like faith and fearlessness with himself. Soldiers 
with conscience and convictions are the bravest. 
Cromwell wanted no other sort. He loved the 
"godly;" loved to lead those who went to battle 
from prayer and praise. Gideon's strategy has 
been called "inspired tactics." Very different fro IT 


the charge of the Old Guard at Waterloo, and of 
the Six Hundred at Balaklava, it was even more 
notable. "Lamps, pitchers and trumpets:" the 
means were wholly inadequate to the end. But 
God fought with the three hundred; for He "works 
with minorities who work with Him." What an in- 
vincible thing faith is! 

Jephthah, xi. This captain is mentioned with 
Gideon, Barak and Samson in the monumental 
chapter of the New Testament, Heb. xi. Notwith- 
standing his rashness, his wild roving life, the Spirit 
has given him rank among some of the noblest of 
the Old Testament worthies. In spite of the strong 
arguments urged in support of the view that he 
actually offered his daughter in sacrifice to God, in 
accordance with his vow, there is enough ground in 
the somewhat ambiguous narrative to justify a more 
humane interpretation. It seems more in harmony 
with the place given Jephthah among the saints, 
and with her "bewailing her virginity," that the 
father devoted his daughter to a life of celibacy and 
seclusion. Every such vow must be dangerous and 
sinful. To bind oneself by oath to do something 
unknown and unknowable is criminally rash. Be- 
sides, it is foolish to imagine we can buy the help of 
God by promising Him devotion in return. A hasty 
vow that involves one in wrong-doing is better 
broken than kept. Better still it is, not to contract 
such obligations at all 

Samsons riddle, xiv:i4. Samson's riddle is God's 
riddle. It shows us God and the Enemy at their 
several work the enemy doing his work as the 
Strong and the Eater, and God in gracious and vic- 
torious power forcing him to yield both meat and 


sweetness. The riddle is the shortest and most 
graphic account of God's ways with the world any- 
where to be found. Whether Samson intended it or 
not, he touched the secret of Providence. God per- 
mits the Devil to assert his will and weave his toils 
and do his work up to a certain stage; and then 
God interferes, and out of the Enemy's doings 
evolves His own blessed ends. That is the history 
of the Fall, of Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Israel, Job, and 
a hundred more. The death of Christ is a most il- 
lustrious example of the truth of Samson's riddle. 
That death transcends all other events. "A by- 
gone eternity knew no other future; and eternity to 
come shall know no other past." In the midst, the 
Cross in lonely majesty; God on the one side with 
averted face; on the other Satan exulting in his tri- 
umph. What a seeming victory for the Eater 
victory eclipsing all others. But again, and more 
and more than ever before, he is compelled to yield 
meat and sweetness. For by that Cross, Christ hath 
abolished death, destroyed him that had the power 
of death, and redeemed His people from a per- 
petual bondage. That Cross will yet be the de- 
struction of the world's evils, the expulsion of its 
sorrows, the overthrow of the kingdom of darkness, 
and the hurling of the Devourer into the Lake of 


Let us rejoice for the book of Ruth! Had we the 
book of Judges alone, as to the long period of Isra- 
el's history between Joshua and Samuel, we should 
be ready to conclude that all the gentler virtues had 
fled from the land, and lawlessness and crime were 
universal. But this book lifAs up the curtain which 
veils the privacy of domestic life, and discloses to 
us most beautiful views of piety, integrity, self-sac- 
rificing affection, gentleness and charity, growing 
up amidst the rude scenes of war and strife, and the 
abominations attendant upon the practice of idol- 
atry. There were still beautiful lives in those times, 
and bright examples of faith. If the enemy were 
busy in corrupting the people, God likewise secured 
the triumph of His love in the hearts of many. 
The key- word is faith; the key- verses 1:16, 17. Even 
a cursory reader must be impressed with the sub- 
lime beauty of this remarkable record. For pathos, 
sweetness, and unaffected naturalness, it is unsur- 
passed. So graphic is this "prose idyl," that pic- 
ture after picture presents itself, and yet there is no 
confusion, no diminution of descriptive power, and 
the interest of the reader is held, increased from 
beginning to end. Its crystalline transparency, and 
inimitable simplicity stamp the narrative as true. 
The book is not exactly a history; nor is it biog- 



raphy. It is only a little biographical episode 
in a history. Just as there were real saints in the 
darkest periods in the Middle Ages, when popes 
and prelates vied in wickedness with kings and 
barons, saints who were hidden away in quiet 
nooks and corners of Christendom so in the mid- 
night of Hebrew history there were some who wor- 
shipped not Baal, who in wondrous simplicity of 
character and genuine fidelity, lived near to God, 
and kept the light of true religion burning brightly. 
Such was the household of Elimelech, of Boaz and 
no doubt of many others. 

I. The principal figure in the book is Ruth. She was 
a Moabitess. Her nationality was particularly odi- 
ous to the Jew. An Egyptian or an Edomite was 
not so abhorrent, for one from these people might, 
according to law, be incorporated into the congre- 
gation in the third generation, Deu. xxiii:8. But a 
Moabite and an Ammonite seem to have been in- 
terdicted from entering Israel forever, Deu. xxiii:3. 
At least, they could not enter till the tenth genera- 
tion. Moab and Ammon had their origin in one of 
the darkest crimes recorded in the Old Testament, 
Gen. xix. But grace triumphed over every barrier, 
and this book shows us its glorious victory in the 
presence of the most adverse circumstances. 

II. Efforts to escape from trouble, i:i-5. Famine, 
the frequent attendant on war, came to Bethlehem 
and the inhabitants suffered want. " The house of 
bread" (Bethlehem so means) was without bread. 
It may have been that the famine was brought 
about by the incursion of the Midianites and 
Amalekites, Judges vi:i-6. Sure we may be that 
the affliction came in consequence of Israel's dis- 


obedience and sin. Elimelech and his family de- 
termined to seek support in the land of Moab. 
The name Elimelech signifies " My God is King.' 
The faith which is imbedded in the name of this 
good man ought to have shone out more brightly 
in the time of trial than it appears to have done. 
It is bad enough when in the midst of difficulties 
the people of God come down into the world to 
find help and comfort; it is worse when they abide 
there. And yet we should not condemn Elimelech 
and his household, for the inspired record gives no 
hint that the step taken was blamed. However, mi- 
gration, flight, does not fly trouble. New and 
worse afflictions fell upon the refugees. First, the 
godly husband died, the two sons married Moabite 
women, and they too died, and Naomi was left a 
childless widow. Three widows in one house! If 
the Elimelech family were backsliders, they found 
as all such unfaithful professors of godliness must 
find, that distance from God is loss, disappointment 
and death. Nearness to God is rest, peace, bless- 
edness, Ps. xvi:ii. Naomi proved this to the utter- 
most. When she returned to Bethlehem, and the 
old neighbors gathered about her to ask, "Is not 
this Naomi?" she answered out of a heart that had 
supped on sorrow, "Call me not Naomi [pleasant], 
call me Mara [bitter]; for the Almighty hath dealt 
very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the 
Lord hath brought me home again empty," i:2O, 21. 
People who fly from one sort of trouble are likely 
to encounter worse. We may escape from famine 
but we cannot escape death. 

III. Faith and devotion, i:8-i8. The Hebrew fam- 
ily had not held the relation to God in secret in the 



land of Moab. They were not ashamed of Israel's 
Saviour. Some one of them, perhaps all of them, 
must have taught the truth about Jehovah to the 
wives ot Mahlon and Chilion. Most likely it was 
Naomi who did so. And the teaching was not 
fruitless. No witness for God ever is. How far it 
extended in this case we have no means of know- 
ing; but we do know that it bore the richest fruit in 
one instance that of Ruth. Orpah was not so 
deeply impressed, i:i$. ''But Ruth clave unto her," 
vs. 14. All sincere souls are tested. Adam and 
Eve, Abraham, Peter were. So, too, was Ruth. 
" Return thou after thy sister-in-law," Naomi said to 
her. But she stood the test. She had learned 
something, perhaps much, of the merciful Lord of 
Israel; she knew that to be with them was to share 
the blessings and promises which they enjoyed. 
The beauty and attractiveness of the people whose 
God is the Lord she had seen and felt in the Eli- 
melech family; and part from them she could not. 
Her reply to Naomi's dismissal is surpassingly fine. 

"Insist not on me forsaking thee, 

To return from following thee; 
For whither thou goest, I will go; 

And wherever thou lodgest, I will lodge; 
Thy people is my people, 

And thy God my God; 
Wheresoever thou diest I will die, 

And there will I be buried. 
Jehovah do so to me, 

And still more, 
If aught but death part thee and me," i:i6, 17. 

"Nothing could be said more fine, more brave" 
(Matthew Henry). "Her vow has stamped itself 


on the very heart of the world; and that not be- 
cause of the beauty of its form simply, though even 
in our English version it sounds like a sweet and 
noble music, but because it expresses in a worthy 
form, and once for all, the utter devotion of a genu- 
ine and self-conquering love" (S. Cox). Let it be 
noted, that the devoted attachment of Ruth to Na- 
omi springs out of a true and firm faith. Her 
choice of Naomi's God to be her own is the proof 
of it. It was no doubt a glad companionship tc 
Naomi. "Thus God never forsaketh His; but when 
one comfort faileth, findeth them out another; as 
when Sarah died, Rebekah came in her room. Yea, 
God Himself stood by Paul when all men forsook 
him" (John Trapp). 

IV. Salutations, ii:4. Boaz, "a mighty man of 
wealth," ii:i, saluting his reapers with the devout 
benediction, "The Lord be with you," and the 
hearty response of the workman, "The Lord bless 
thee," is a pleasant picture of old-world life, and of 
the deep religious feeling which prevailed among 
this frank and guileless people. With them it was 
no meaningless form, no mere custom out of which 
the life had flown. It was the expression of those 
who loved the Lord and hence loved one another, 
Ps. cxxix:8. Gideon was saluted thus: "The Lord 
is with thee," and Mary thus: " Hail, highly favored 
one! the Lord is with thee" the greetings of 
angels. Jesus was wont to greet His disciples say- 
ing, " Peace be unto you." The apostles closed their 
letters with blessings " The Lord be with you all." 
In the case of pious persons such salutations are 
prayers for those addressed. How many of our 
common greetings have their origin in prayer! 



"Good-bye" God be with you; " Farewell," "Good 
night," are prayers. Addio, say the Italians: To 
God I commend you! Once these expressions 
meant all that true hearts wished for each other. 
Now they are like old coins, of which the image 
and superscription are rubbed out. 

V. The Kinsman Redeemer, iii, iv:i-l6. The duties 
of a Kinsman-redeemer were both varied and im- 
portant. Lev. xxv 125-28, 47-50, treats of the re- 
demption of the property and person of a "brother" 
who might be reduced to penury. But there is an- 
other feature connected with the functions of the 
redeemer which is brought before us in this book, 
viz., the levirate law, as it is called, i. e., the law of 
the near of kin (brother-in-law), founded on Deu. 
xxv:5, 6. There can be scarcely any doubt but that 
this law acted in the case of the kinsman-redeemer. 
At least, it is recognized in the transaction between 
Boaz, the kinsman nearer than Boaz, and Ruth. She 
is persistently faithful to her duty to her dead hus- 
band; Boaz to the law of Moses; the " near kins- 
man" considerate only of his selfish interests. And 
Boaz buys both the alienated land, and redeems the 
person of Ruth. Neither of the two women could sell 
or restore the property. Ruth could glean, but she 
could neither buy herself nor the estate of her de- 
ceased husband. Boaz, the " mighty man of wealth," 
is both able and willing to undertake and accom- 
plish. How like our Kinsman Redeemer, the Lord 
Jesus Christ, who buys us, and redeems our alien- 
ated heritage, I Cor. vi:iQ, 20; I Pet. {13-5. Let the 
reader note the three majestic adjectives in Peter: 
"incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not 
away." Of no inheritance in this world can so much 


be said. Ours is, in its nature incorruptible, in its 
possession without a stain, and in its enjoyment 
everlastingly fresh and satisfying. 

VI. Genealogy of David, iv 117-22; genealogy of 
Christ, Matt. i:5. And so David the king descends 
through two Gentile women, on the name of each of 
whom there rests a blot, Rahab and Ruth. The one 
was a harlot, the other was a Moabitess whose pa- 
ternal ancestor, Moab, was the child of incest! And 
Jesus traces His human lineage through this same 
line. Marvelous grace and condescension! Relinks 
Himself, not with a race of righteous people, but 
with sinners. He claims kindred with the poorest 
and the worst of men, and He saves them, too, who 
will but trust Him. No more need Naomi call her- 
self Mara, but the pleased and pleasant ancestress 
of Obed, Jesse, David, Jesus. 

VII. Worldwide events often hinge upon a little inci- 
dent, a trifling act, ii:3. " Her hap was to light on a 
part of the field of Boaz." Her hap! And yet that 
"hap" turned out to be her marriage, and the births, 
ultimately, of David and of Jesus. Out of insignifi- 
cant trifles, as men name them, God weaves His 
mighty ends. An arrow is shot across a deep 
chasm through which a turbulent stream rushes. 
To the arrow a thread is attached, to the thread a 
cord, then a cable; and in due time a bridge spans 
the huge trench, and men pass and repass at their 

The sleepless night of a king turns out to be the 
salvation of a proscribed nation, Esther vi:i. A 
young widow happens to enter a harvest-field to 
gather a little food for herself and a dependent 
mother-in-law. There follow that simple act, a 



marriage, the birth of a son, a great king, and finally 
a mighty Saviour. Our God is One whose provi- 
dence is so special and minute that nothing escapes 
it, nothing is too small for it, and all things are 
bent to fulfill His wise and blessed ends. Let us 
trust Him; for He sees the end from the beginning 


The key-word of First Samuel is, "Kingdom-' 
the key-verse, I Sam. x:25. 

These two books take their name from the great 
man whose history they relate, the prophet Samuel. 
In some of the oldest translations they are desig- 
nated as "First and Second Kings," and those 
which follow as "Third and Fourth Kings." All 
four relate to the kingdom of Israel. The general 
history, interrupted by Ruth, is again taken up and 
carrried forward to the captivity. 

First Samuel is divided into two parts: Part I., 
the theocracy under Eli and Samuel; chapters i-vii. 
Part II., anointing of Saul as king, and his reign; 
chapters viii-xxxi. 

First Samuel narrates a radical change in the re 
lations of the chosen people with God. Up to this 
point Jehovah was their king. Now in answer to 
their unbelieving clamor (i Sam. viii:5-9), a king 
was given them. To the king they were directly re- 
sponsible; indirectly to Jehovah, as through the 
king. A new office was introduced in connection 
with the change of relationship, vi^., the office of 
prophet. Prophets there were before; Moses was 
such and others, Num. xii:6-8. But now the office 
becomes a part of the national life, as we may say; 
and prophecy implies failure. Yet out of it all God 


wrought infinite good. How much we owe to this 
office cannot be computed. By it we have the rev- 
elation of the grace and counsels of God. First 
Samuel shows us the failure of the people, the 
breaking up of the old relationship, the appoint- 
ment of a king, and the office of the prophet inau- 

The fall of Shiloh contributed much to the change. 
The first place where the sanctuary was located 
after the passage of the Jordan was Gilgal, Josh, v: 
10. It was ere long established at Shiloh, Josh, 
xviiin, and there it remained until captured by the 
Philistines, I Sam. iv. Afterward it was located at 
Kirjath-jearim, I Sam. vii:i, 2; and was finally 
brought to Jerusalem by David, where it remained, 
2 Sam. vi. Wherever the ark was, there was the 
"house of God," Ju. xviii:3i; I Sam. iii:3. There 
were other places where worship was offered, but 
the tabernacle was pre-eminent. The other sanctu- 
aries held a relation to the tabernacle such as the 
synagogues held to the temple. They were alto- 
gether subordinate. 

There are three great names about which most of 
the events of these books of Samuel may be grouped, 
Samuel, Saul and David. 

I. Samuel. His birth was the answer to his 
mother's agonizing prayer, I Sam. i:io, n. He was 
asked of God, given by Him, and his happy mother 
named him Samuel "asked of God," i:20. Two 
things are noteworthy as to Hannah's conduct: 
First, after her very earnest prayer, "the woman 
went her way and did eat, and her countenance was 
no more sad," vs. 18. An example of faith! Her 
tears and sighs all gone. Second, her song of joy 


ii:i-iO. It is a very noble hymn, the outpouring of 
a glad heart which could not but sing. There is a 
close resemblance between it and Mary's song, Lu. 
i: 46-55. Both thrill with the deepest fervor and 

1. Samuel throughout his long life was a Nazarite, 
i:ii. Given in answer to prayer he was consecrated 
to God from infancy, and brought up in the sacred 
tent at Shiloh. Simple, devout, true, he was strong 
in will, unflinching in the discharge of the most 
painful duties, iii:i7, 18; xv:26. 

2. He was a man of prayer, I Sam. iii; vii:8, 9, etc. 
Stanley holds that the "cry" for which Samuel was 
noted, was shrill and piercing, and was uttered in all 
his intercessions for the people, when they were in 
danger of trouble. All the very great men of the 
Bible and of the Church were men of prayer, of 
persevering, believing, importunate prayer. 

3. His influence was felt throughout the whole nation. 
Of all the judges of Israel, Samuel, the last of them, 
wielded the greatest power. Men trembled at his 
presence, I Sam. xvi:4. Saul himself feared him. 
His influence lay not in military exploits, nor in 
diplomatic skill, nor in political shrewdness, but in 
his unswerving integrity, his splendid loyalty. In 
his old age, when the time was come for him to lay 
down the heavy burden he had so long borne, he 
could challenge all Israel to point out a single 
instance of his selfishness or unrighteousness, I Sam. 

4. Samuel was a prophet, and the first of the long- line 
of prophets which closes with the Old Testament, Acts 
iii:24; xiii:2o; Heb. xi:32. With him the office and 
order began a distinct feature of the Hebrew polity. 


Prior to Samuel "the word of the Lord was precious 
[rare] in those days; there was no open vision," iii: 
i. With him the "revelations" through prophecy 
(which means a message from God) began, iii:2i. 
Of the nature of these revelations, suffice it to say 
now, that they were not by intuition or genius or 
imagination of the prophet, but by direct communi- 
cation from God, 2 Pet. i:2O, 21; Heb. i:i, 2, cf. Jer. 
xxiii:i6, 21. We learn something of the nature of 
prophecy from the word used about Samuel, viz., 
"Seer," I Sam. ixx). This was the most ancient 
name for the office; and it seems to intimate that 
the prophet was gifted with a preternatural sight, 
the faculty and power of vision as to unseen things 
which ordinary men do not possess. Balaam defines 
it, "to have the eyes open, to hear the words of God 
and to see the vision of the Almighty, falling into a 
trance, but having the eyes open," Num. xxiv:3, 4, 

I5> J 6. 

5. The schools of the prophets. These were founded 
by Samuel, and were designed to make the office 
permanent and effective. One was located at 
Ramah, of which Samuel seems to have been at the 
head, I Sam. xixiig, 20; and others at other places, 
i Sam. x:5. Still others, afterward, at Bethel, 2 
Kings ii:3; at Jericho, 2 Kings ii:5; at Gilgal, 2 
Kings iv:38. The chief study of the young men in 
these schools, no doubt, was the law and its inter- 
pretation; but we gather from I Sam. x:5, cf. i 
Chron. xxv:i-3, that the cultivation of music was a 
part of their labors. The art was not an integral 
part of the office of prophecy, but its accompani- 
ment; for in the rapt ecstatic condition of soul into 
which he was thrown when the spirit of prophecy 



came upon him, his utterances rushed forth in a 
tuneful flow, and very naturally he accompanied 
them with a musical instrument, 2 Kings iii:i5- 

6. Samuel, as prophet, was the channel of communi- 
cation between the Lord and the people. The priest was 
so no longer; nor the judge. Whatever message 
the Lord had for His people was addressed to them 
through the prophet. It was he who, acting under 
divine direction, inaugurated the kingdom and 
anointed the king, viii; x:i; who announced the for- 
feiture of the throne by the first king, I Sam. xv:28; 
who anointed his successor, xvi:i2, 13. This high 
place the office maintained until the fall of Israel. 
It was the change of relation with God consequent 
upon the establishment of the kingdom which made 
it so. Through the priest the people drew near to 
God; through the prophet God drew near to the peo- 
ple. In Heb. iii:i the two offices are united in 
Christ. As Apostle He pleads God's cause with us; 
as Priest He pleads our cause with God. 

II. Saul. He was of the tribe of Benjamin, the 
son of Kish, of the family of Abiel. Abner, his 
chief officer, was his near kinsman, probably his 
uncle. The family was one of wealth and influence, 
I Sam. ix:i. 

I. In Saul we have man acting in the energy of the 
flesh, with small spiritual force. He was of gigan- 
tic stature; his physical powers enormous. At 
the close of his first interview with Samuel, he 
"turned his shoulder [margin] to go" one can al- 
most see that massive shoulder wheel round, sug- 
gestive of strength, and endurance, I Sam. x-.g. In- 
decision and irresolution mark his life throughout. 
He had the military qualities of a leader, and was 


something of a statesman, but he was destitute of 
true spiritual power. The gift promised and con- 
ferred upon him, I Sam. x:6, 9, had to do with his 
ruling and leadership. It does not mean the new 

2. Condition of Israel at SauVs inauguration. It 
was as bad as it could well be. The nation's help- 
lessness appears in the graphic words of I Sam. xiii: 
19; no smith in all Israel; no sword or spear, save 
those of Saul and Jonathan. Could national dis- 
armament and prostration be greater? 

3. His jealous disposition. This is seen in his treat- 
ment of his own son Jonathan, a better man than 
his father, i Sam. xiv:38-44; xx:3o; of David the 
truest friend he had in the whole realm, xxiii; 
of Ahimelech, the high priest, and of the priests, 
xxii. Saul's life was one long tragedy. A strange 
frenzy took possession of him. The Scripture 
calls it an evil spirit, I Sam. xvi:i4-i6; xviiino; 
xix:9, etc. He became suspicious, distrustful, vio- 
lent. Dark thoughts tormented him. Wild pas- 
sions shook his huge frame, with fierce spasms of 
conscience and murderous moods of jealousy in 
fact, he seems at times to have been mad. He fell 
into melancholy, and his courtiers trembled before 
him as he sat in his house with his javelin in his 
hand, and the evil spirit brooding over him. His 
courage forsook him, and he who had been admired 
for his stature and strength, whose armor no ordi- 
nary man could wear, sometimes fought with des- 
peration, and sometimes was craven. So fully had 
come to pass the words of the prophet about him 
and the people, i Sam. viii:i8; xii:i2, 13, 25. To 
such an end "the flesh " at length arrives. 


4. His rejection. Two acts of disobedience 
marked his downward course. The first was his 
rash sacrifice. He had been bidden to tarry until 
Samuel should arrive. About the hardest thing a 
weak and impulsive man can do is patiently to wait 
in the presence of uncertainty or perplexity. Sam- 
uel plainly intimated to him that the kingdom 
should pass away from him, I Sam. xiii:i4. It was 
Saul's first distinct warning of the doom that awaited 
him and his house. The second was his refusal 
to execute on Agag the punishment his crimes 
merited, I Sam. xv. This was a wilful violation of 
the Lord's command, Ex. xvii:i6; Deu. xxv:ig. 
This time Samuel pronounced the decisive sentence, 
i Sam. xv:22, 23, 27-29. One of the strange leaves 
in human history here turns. Saul refused to pun- 
ish Agag the Amalekite; and at his death the fallen 
king is stripped of his crown and his ornaments by 
a prowling son of Amalek, 2 Sam. i:io. Slay your 
enemy, sin, and it will be well with you, spare your 
enemy, sin, and it will despoil and murder you. 
The reprisals of sin and of law how awful they are! 

5. Saul's death, I Sam. xxviii, xxxi. He was in 
sore distress; his kingdom was in imminent peril; 
himself forsaken of God; he felt that the fatal net 
was fast closing in upon him; that escape was now 
impossible; and in his dire extremity, goaded to 
desperation, he tried the experiment of consulting 
the witch of En-dor. "All human history has failed 
to record a despair deeper or more tragic than his, 
who, having forsaken God, and being of God for- 
saken, is now seeking to move hell, since heaven is 
inexorable to him; and infinitely guilty as he is, 
assuredly there is something unutterably pathetic 


in that yearning of the disanointed king, now in his 
utter desolation, to change words once more with 
the friend and counselor of his youth, and if he 
must hear his doom, to hear it from no other lips 
but his" (Trench). 

As to the question of Samuel's appearance in 
response to the witch's incantations, let the follow- 
ing be considered: (i) Saul testified that God no 
longer answered him at all, xxviii:i5. Is it likely 
that God, who refused to hold intercourse with Saul 
by any appointed channels of communication, 
would send Samuel in answer to the conjuring of 
this hag? Would He so far recognize the "black 
art"? (2) Vs. 15. That the power of the necro- 
mancer could reach to the abode of the saintly 
dead, and "disquiet" them is incredible. (3) "God 
brought Samuel up to pronounce his doom. The 
sorceress had nothing to do with it." But He had 
pronounced his doom, xvi:i. The spectre foretells 
nothing that was not already known, save his 
approaching death; and in the state in which the 
king and all Israel were at the time, it would not be 
difficult to predict the issue of the impending bat- 
tle. On the face of it, this strange account bears 
evidence of the tricks of a juggler, and the powers 
of both the clairvoyant and ventriloquist. And it is 
noteworthy that the name of the witch in the Septu- 
agint version is, ventriloquist. The next day Saul 
died. " I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took 
him away in my wrath," Hos. xiiini. There is an 
apparent discrepancy in the two accounts of Saul's 
death which we have. In I Sam. xxxi:4, 5 we are 
told he died by his own hand; but in 2 Sam. i:io 
the Amalekite tells David that he slew him. John 



Trapp is right: "An artificially composed speech, 
but scarce ever a true word. This Amalekite, which 
signifieth a licking-people, would, like a cur log, 
have sucked David's blood only with licking* but 
was happily disappointed." 


The key- word is " Kingdom"; the key-verse, I Sam. 
xvi:i. The unity of plan and the design of these 
books of Samuel is quite apparent. The main 
theme is the establishment of the Kingdom in Israel, 
and the transfer of the crown from the tribe of Ben- 
jamin to that of Judah. The king given in answer 
to the clamors of the restless people given in 
anger and taken away in wrath, is by divine inter- 
position succeeded by one who " is after God's own 
heart," David. The books of Samuel afford an il- 
lustration of Samson's riddle, Judges xiv:i4. The 
eater is made to yield meat, the strong, sweetness. 
Samson's riddle is God's riddle. David is the 
prominent figure in these books; for his name be- 
comes in due time associated with the name of his 
Son and Lord; his throne merges into the throne of 
the Messiah. Even his splendid son Solomon sinks 
to a lower place. Broadly, it may be said that 
First Samuel records David's wondrous training for 
his mission; Second Samuel, his reign. In the first, 
he is at school; in the second, on the throne. Dis- 
cipline! How large a place it fills in God's pur- 
poses touching His best servants! Moses, Joshua, 
Samuel, David, Daniel, John the Baptist, and Paul, 
are the proof of it. No man in this world ever has 
achieved much who has not been in God's school. 

Second Samuel contains the history of the reign 


of David. The book may be conveniently divided 
into three parts. Part I., chapters i-x: David en- 
throned as king, first over Judah, and then over all 
Israel. Part II., chapters xi-xx: David's sin and its 
dreadful consequences some of its consequences 
are, incest and rebellion in his own family, and 
Joab's insolence and lawlessness a frightful crop 
followed his sowing! Part III., chapters xxi-xxiv: 
David's last acts and last words, and his mighty 

1. David 9 s prominence in the Bible. No Old Testa- 
ment character surpasses him in this regard. He 
ranks with Moses and Abraham. Indeed, in fre- 
quency of mention and the reverence paid him, 
hardly another equals him. Jerusalem is called af- 
ter him, 2 Sam. V:Q; Bethlehem, likewise, Lu. ii:4, 
ii. Again and again we read of the "house of 
David," Zech. xii:;; Lu. i:2;, 69; of the "tabernacle 
of David," Acts xv:i6. The relation which Christ 
sustains to David is manifold. He is of the seed of 
David, Rom. i:3; cf. Ps. lxxxix:36; the Son of David 
Matt. i:i; xxii:42; the Heir to throne of David, Lu 
1:32; Acts ii:3O; and He hath the key of David, Rev 
iii:7; cf. Is. xxii:22. Scripture associates David 
with Christ in the closest way; the one ever fore 
shadows the other; his "house" is the kingdom of 
David, and this is the fore-gleam of Christ's king 
dom; his "key "is the symbol of the authority he 
had over his house, and this in the hand of Christ is 
expressive of supreme sovereignty. All this gives 
David a pre-eminence that belongs to few, if any 
other, in the Bible. 

2. His birth and youth, I Sam. xvi; xvii:i5, 34, 
etc. Bethlehem, famous for its well, i Chron. xin?, 


was the place of his birth, as also the birthplace 
of his august son and heir, Matt. ii:4-6. He was 
the youngest of eight sons. His lineage is carefully 
preserved in Ruth iv and I Chron. ii:n-i5. (Note: 
in I Chron. ii David is called the seventh son. Prob- 
ably one of the brothers had died early, and so in 
this list he would naturally be omitted.) In the 
genealogy of Matthew he is distinguished by the 
royal title, "David the king." His early manhood 
was spent in the duties of a shepherd, an occupation 
attended with personal hazard. So the sheperd- 
king tells us that in defence of his flock he slew a 
lion and a bear, I Sam. xvii 134-36. Out of his shep- 
herd-life grew one of his sweetest psalms, the 
matchless Twenty-third; and no doubt his sojourn 
in the wide country, and his nights in the field, 
gazing on the starry heavens so dazzlingly brilliant 
in the east, suggested some of the images in that 
finest anthem of creation, the Eighth Psalm. 

3. His anointing, I Sam. xvi:i-!3. The sons of 
Jesse passed before Samuel in a sort of review. 
The eldest, Eliab, seemed to recommend himself to 
the prophet as the successor of Saul by his physical 
qualifications. But all glorying in the flesh and its 
birthright is now to be set aside. In the sad exam- 
ple of Saul it has been demonstrated to all spiritual 
minds that the flesh profiteth nothing. The exter- 
nal appearance, the fine proportions and lofty stat- 
ure must give place to the energy of faith in the in- 
ner man. The youngest in Jesse's family, the de- 
spised and forgotten one, is the chosen of the Lord, 
"for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man 
looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord 
looketh on the heart." This anointing of David 



was private, secret. Publicly he was anointed over 
Judah, 2 Sam. ii:4, and over all Israel, 2 Sam. v:3- 
Note, Saul and Jehu were anointed with a vial of 
oil, I Sam. x:i; 2 Kings ix:i (R. V.); David and 
Solomon with a horn of oil. But Christ was anointed 
with the oil of gladness above His fellows, Heb. 1:9. 
It was because Christ fulfilled all righteousness, did 
perfectly the will of His Father, that He was raised 
to the throne of God amid the acclamations of the 
heavenly host. 

We have a little glimpse of David's personal ap- 
pearance here. He is said to have been "ruddy" 
with auburn hair, and the bloom of youth on his 
cheek. Tradition says that his lowly descendant, 
Mary, had also auburn or golden hair. He was of a 
"beautiful countenance," had "fair eyes," the margin 
has it; "beautiful eyes," the ancient Septuagint 
reads. Richly endowed as he was, a poet of the 
highest order, a man of faith, zeal, devotedness, en- 
ergy, no wonder his powers were seen in his brilliant 
and piercing eyes. 

3. David 's training for the great destiny that God had 
marked for him. It was a singular one, but perfectly 
adapted to the end in view. First of all, there was 
his association with the prophet Samuel, which must 
have been of incalculable benefit to him. There can 
be no reasonable doubt but that Samuel taught his 
apt and gifted pupil much; probably reading, writ- 
ing, music, I Sam. xix:i8-24. But Samuel gave him 
something far better than mere accomplishments, 
viz., the knowledge of the law of God, and the 
beauty of a devoted and godly life. No one could 
spend any time with Samuel, no one of the tempera- 
ment and piety of David, without vast good to his 



own soul. Saul himself could not come into his 
presence without benefit. The influence of the 
prophet on the future king of Israel was never lost. 

But the main factor in his remarkable education 
was his afflictions and persecutions at the hands of 
Saul and other enemies. God sent His servant to 
that school and set him down to those books which 
were exactly suited to His purpose respecting him. 
He could not have been the man and the king he 
was had he not suffered as he did. He could not 
have written the psalms that he did, humanly speak- 
ing, had he not waded deep in trouble and sorrow. 
He could not have been the type of the Lord Jesus 
he is, had he not been hated, persecuted, hunted 
like a partridge on the mountains. Because he 
stood in peculiar relations to God; because his life 
was filled with the strangest vicissitudes, swinging 
through an arc that embraced much if not all of hu- 
man experience, an arc that touched the highest 
point of fame and grandeur, and yet dipped down 
to the lowest humiliation and sorrow; because of 
his fullness of experience; he could write psalms 
that suit all men in all ages and conditions, psalms 
that go to the heart of all. Edward Irving finely 
says of him, "Every angel of joy and of sorrow 
swept, as he passed, over the chords of David's 
harp, and the hearts of a hundred men strove and 
struggled together within the narrow continent of 
his single heart." 

Three personal blessings came to David from his 
trials. The first was, his prudence was unfolded. 
Again and again it is mentioned to his credit, I Sam. 
xviii:i4, 15, 30; 2 Sam. xiv:2o; Ps. xxxv:i4. Sec- 
ond, his magnanimity. We see it all through his 



life, with a few painful exceptions, and especially in 
his forbearance toward Saul. Third, his dependence 
on God. It grew out of his exposure to so many 
and varied perils, and out of his hair-breadth es- 
capes. How often he says, in memory of the 
dangers he has passed, "The Lord that hath re- 
deemed me out of adversity." Thus he constantly 
refers to the Lord as his "rock," "strength," etc. 
Indeed much of the imagery of his Psalms is taken 
from the hiding-places and fastnesses that saved 
him from the pursuers. 

5. Foundation of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, 2, 
Sam. v, vi. It was still in the possession of the 
heathen Jebusites, Josh. xv:63. But David, and his 
chief captain, the able but unscrupulous Joab, I 
Chron. xi:6, captured it. Thus the ancient city of 
Melchizedek became the seat of the theocratic king- 
dom; and from hence onward it was called "the 
city of David," and "the city of God." Thither, 
also, amid universal rejoicing, the ark was borne, 
and God in this symbol of His presence, dwelt 
among His people. Psalms cxxxii was written in 
commemoration of the glorious event. 

6. The royal covenant, 2 Sam. vii: 12-16; I Chron. 
xvii:n-i4. It is on the ground of this great cov- 
enant that Christ is David's Heir, Matt. i:i; Acts ii: 
29-36. Whether Solomon is in it at all is questioned 
by some. If he is, it is in altogether a subordinate 
way, as in vs. 14. Bishop Horsley (quoted by 
Bishop Nicholson) renders vs. 14 thus: "When 
guilt is laid upon him, I will chasten him with the 
rod of men." With what gratitude does David re- 
ply to the gracious covenant made with him and his 
house? In vs. 19, is a very peculiar expression, 



"And is this the manner of men, O Lord God?" cf. 
I Chron. xvii:!/. Commentators puzzle over it not 
a little. It certainly refers to the Messiah. The 
Sept. version renders, "But this is the law of the 
man, O, Lord God." The meaning seems to be, 
"this is the law about the man," the man promised, 
the Son and Lord of David. 

7. David } s failures and crimes. They were neither 
few nor small. ( I ) When persecuted by Saul he 
sought refuge once and again among Israel's ene- 
mies. The first time he was extricated only after 
deep humiliation and disgrace, I Sam. xxi. The 
second time he does so, he suffers loss, I Sam. xxx: 
1-8. But he is mercifully preserved from fighting 
against his own people. (2) His plurality of wives. 
He established a harem after the manner of oriental 
monarchs. To the two wives he had in the wilder- 
ness he added others, 2 Sam. v:i3. The results of 
his sin were seen in the disorderly and turbulent 
family that grew up around him, and in the kindling 
of fierce passions in himself which led him into 
dreadful sin at length. (3) His close alliance with 
the bloody sons of Zeruiah, with Joab more particu- 
larly, who murdered as he listed, and David seemed 
powerless to punish, was another grievous mistake of 
his. (4) The crime as to Bathsheba and Uriah. The 
record of this dark deed sets out with the statement 
that when the army marched against Rabbah the 
king tarried at Jerusalem, 2 Sam. xi:i. "David's 
giving himself to ease and pleasure was the root of 
all his wretchedness. Standing waters gather filth. 
As the crab-fish seizeth upon the oyster gaping, so 
doth Satan upon the idle" (Trapp). Our peril is 
greatest when we are neglecting duty. What a sad 


history! What unworthiness, that he, a king from 
God, honored of God with such a covenant as was 
made with him, to be guilty of such crimes! How 
much happier when hunted as a partridge! But 
even here grace, amazing grace, does not fail. He 
is restored, and writes the most pitiful wail of con- 
fession ever inspired by the Spirit of God, Ps. li, and 
the joy of forgiveness, Ps. xxxii. Unpunished he 
did not go. Amnon's sin, Absalom's rebellion, 
Joab's insolence, Sheba's rebellion, and Adonijah's 
attempt to seize the throne, were the legitimate 
fruits of his guilt. Ps. xcix:8. (5) His numbering 
the people, 2 Sam. xxiv. With all his faults and 
sins, David, nevertheless, was one of the truest and 
most faithful men Israel ever had. At heart, in the 
inmost core of him, David was right with God. 
Posture of soul toward God that is the final test. 
Here David fails not. 


The design of these books is to trace the history 
of the Hebrew kingdom through its most prosper- 
ous period to its decline and fall. They record 
Israel's glory while monarch and people serve the 
Lord; their shame and misery when they turn away 
from Him. The momentous lesson the books teach 
is obedience and blessing, apostasy and ruin. 

Key-word, ' Royalty;' key- verse, I Kings 11:12; xi: 
13" (Pierson). 

Division First Kings Part I., David's death and 
Solomon's glorious reign, i-xi. Part II., revolt of 
Jeroboam, and establishment of the two kingdoms, 
xii-xxii. Second Kings Part I., history of the two 
kingdoms to the captivity of Israel (northern king- 
dom), i-xvii. Part II., decline and captivity of 
Judah, xviii-xxv. 

i. Solomon's reign, I Kings i-xi. His name was 
given him by his mother, but the Lord through the 
prophet Nathan, called him Jedidiah, i. e., " Beloved 
of Jehovah," perhaps as an assurance to David that 
his sin was forgiven, 2 Sam. xii:24, 25. The name 
Solomon, which signifies "the Peaceful," received 
the divine sanction, I Chron. xxii:g. 

(i) His wisdom. I Kings 1^:5-14. In answer to 
his prayer, God gave him a singularly comprehen- 
sive mind, power of observation and reflection, and 
a strong grasp on the great problems of human life. 


He was a botanist, zoologist, architect, poet, and 
moral philosopher; in short, he was the first man for 
intellect of his day, and indeed of any time, I Kings 

(2) Extent of his empire, I Kings iv:2i. By 
"the river" is meant the Euphrates, cf. Gen. xv:i8; 
Josh. i:4. 

(3) Promotion of commerce. By alliances with 
trading peoples contiguous to Israel he furthered 
commerce to such an extent that the ships of Solo- 
mon and Hiram ran on the Red sea, it is thought, as 
far as the Indian ocean, and on the west by the 
Mediterranean to Tarshish, perhaps on the coast of 
Spain, 2 Chron. ix:io, 21, and brought from thence 
gold, silver, ivory, sandal-wood, and new forms of 
animal life, "apes and peacocks." 

(4) His magnificence. It appears in his gorgeous 
throne of ivory with its twelve massive lions, 2 
Chron. ix:i8, 19; in the sumptuous provision for 
his table, I Kings iv:22, 23; in the plentifulness of 
the precious metals, 2 Chron. ix:2?; I Kings x:2?; 
in the presence of horses and chariots in Jerusalem, 
for the first time, I Kings x:26-29; 2 Chron. i:i6. 

(5) The temple, I King vi-viii. This was Solo- 
mon's greatest work. In form the temple was an 
exact reproduction of the tabernacle of the wilder- 
ness, only double in size. The temple, in reality, 
was the sacred Tent in marble and gold. The site 
was Mt. Moriah, memorable as the place where 
Abraham's faith had been tried, and where David 
offered and the plague was staid, I Chron. xxi:28. 
The amount of labor, wealth, and skill expended on 
this magnificent sanctuary almost passes belief, I 
Chron. xxii:i4-i6; I Kings v:i3-i8, etc. Never, 


perhaps, has the world seen a costlier structure, or 
one more dazzlingly beautiful. The second temple 
was far from being its equal, Ezra iii:i2. It stood 
with its facade to the east. From the foundation to 
the roof, the front was clothed over with solid plates 
of gold. When the morning sun arose, the gold and 
marble sent back his rays with an added glory so 
great that a gazer standing on the Mount of Olives 
opposite, had to shade his eyes when looking to the 
temple mount. The prayer of dedication, I Kings 
viii, and God's acceptance of the house, 2 Chron. vii: 
1-4, afford precious instruction. 

(6) Solomon's fall, I Kings xi. Through the fa- 
tal institution of polygamy he was corrupted and his 
court demoralized. Heathen rites were introduced; 
idolatrous altars arose hard by the Temple of Jeho- 
vah, vs. 6-8. The great prince sank lower and 
lower, seduced by the multitude of his wives and 
mistresses; and he disappears from the history un- 
der the deepest cloud though the book of Ecclesu 
astes gives some evidence of his repentance. " Be-, 
hold a greater than Solomon is here." Failure in 
David; failure in Solomon; failure everywhere, save 
in Him who is the Witness faithful and true, Jesus 
Christ. What a creature man is! How vain, unsta- 
ble, puerile, fallible, worthless; but "Jesus Christ is 
the same yesterday, and today, and forever," Heb. 

2. Revolt of the Ten Tribes, I Kings xii. Reho- 
boam, Solomon's son and successor, appears to have 
been a vain, supercilious young man, one of "foolish 
sons" of whom his father so often speaks. Notwith- 
standing the hundreds of wives Solomon had, this is 
the only son we read of, and he none of the wisest. 


Probably his father had him in mind when he wrote 
the bitter words of Ecc. ii:i8, 19. 

Rehoboam's obstinacy and pride alienated his 
people; and ten tribes seceded from the house of 
David, and formed a separate kingdom with Jero- 
boam at its head. It was only because of the Lord's 
love for David that his throne remained for him in 
Jerusalem, I Kings xi. Four times in that chapter 
occur the words, "David my servant's sake;" God 
would prove faithful to His covenant, though Da- 
vid's son would not. 

Jeroboam's sin, I Kings xii 126-30. Political mo- 
tives led to its commission. To make the division 
complete and perpetuate his dynasty, he founded 
two sanctuaries, one at Dan, the other at Bethel; 
he placed in them beast-idols, the calves of Egypt, 
and with the old cry of the wilderness, Ex. xxxii:4, 
saluted them, " Behold thy gods, O Israel, which 
brought thee up out of Egypt." This distinctively 
was Jeroboam's sin. And from that time forward 
he is described as "Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who 
made Israel to sin." To him directly the northern 
kingdom owed its ruin; to him indirectly Judah 
likewise her fall. 

3. The Prophets, I Kings xiii, xvii, xx, etc. Proph- 
ecy implies failure, "a light that shineth in a dark 
place." As the transgressions of Israel and Judah 
increased, God's testimony by the mouth of His 
prophets became more and more energetic and in- 
tense. Great prophets succeed each other rapidly; 
sometimes they appear singly, sometimes in groups; 
sometimes many of them are in action together. 
Their solemn voices in warning are heard all over 
the two kingdoms, and swell and deepen as apos- 


tasy grows apace, and the catastrophe approaches. 
Elijah, Elisha, Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah 
what great names are associated with Israel's and 
Judah's decline and fall! the greatest the world has 
ever known. Prophet after prophet, prophets side 
by side with prophets, mingling their stern and aw- 
ful voices, lifting them up, making their appeals and 
their warnings and their threats, in the name of Je- 
hovah, mightier and still more passionate; and yet 
even they, sanctioning their messages by judicial 
signs and wonders, are powerless to arrest the apos- 
tasy, and the end comes at last in fire and sword, 
tears and blood. And poor Israel's sun goes down 
into a dismal night that still lasts! 

4. Elijah. Of the large number of God's wit- 
nesses during this period, to this prophet alone 
must a few words be devoted. Elijah's miracles, 
like those of Moses, are judicial. He shuts heaven 
over the rebellious people, I Kings xvii:i; Jas. v.i?, 
proves at Carmel that Jehovah alone is God, and the 
people execute judgment on the priests of Baal, I 
King xviii, brings down fire upon the captains sent 
to arrest him, 2 Kings i. The Two Witnesses of 
Rev. xi will exercise the like power in working simi- 
lar signs for the same space of time, three years and 
a half. His miracles were signs to Israel; theirs 
will be signs to the world. So, too, his last journeys 
when he was about to be taken away, were signs. 
Four places he visited in his last tours just before 
his rapture: 

(i) Gilgal, 2 Kings ii: I the starting point. It 
Was the spot where God "rolled away the reproach 
of Egypt from Israel," when Joshua had circumcised 
the people, Josh. \\g. But this spot was memorable 


for the sin of Saul which cost him his throne, I Sam. 
xv. Transgression was multiplied at Gilgal, Hos. 
ix:i5; Amos iv:4. The point of departure in a dou- 
ble sense! Elijah cannot stay at Gilgal because of 

(2) Bethel, 2 Kings ii:2. A place of extraordi- 
nary visions and promises, Gen. xxviii; xxxi:i3, etc. 
But at Bethel, Jeroboam had set up the golden calf, 
and there Israel had worshipped and sinned, Hos. x: 
15; Amos iv:4. The prophet cannot remain at 
Bethel; sin meets him there. 

(3) Jericho, 2 Kings ii:4. Formerly the power 
of the enemy barred Israel's way at this point. God 
smote the place, and pronounced a curse against it. 
Man rebuilt it notwithstanding the curse, I Kings xvi: 
34. The prophet cannot remain here, for sin again 
confronts him. Elijah passes the Jordan, and out 
beyond the territory of Israel and into the world of 
the Gentiles. How deep the lesson if the people 
had eyes to see, minds to understand. What was 
all this but a symbolical representation of the Lord's 
departure from Israel, the prophetic light going out, 
the candlestick being removed? But Israel would 
not see nor heed. 

5. Captivity of Israel, 2 Kings xvii. "The course 
of iniquity had been run. The stream grew darker 
in its downward flow. Every commandment of God 
was broken. People and king vied in debauchery." 
Is it any surprise God should name them Lo-ruha- 
mah, no-mercy, and Lo-ammi, not my people? Hos 
i. The last king of Israel was Hoshea, a better man 
than most of his predecessors, 2 Kings xvii:i, 2. 
Nevertheless, the catastrophe came in his day. A 
more devout ruler could not have averted it. Louis 


XVI. was one of the best of French kings, yet under 
him burst forth the revolution which consumed him 
and his queen. Seeds which ripen into a harvest of 
judgment are sown long before the reaping-time. 

6. Captivity of Judah, 2 Kings xxiv, xxv. Many 
faithful kings Judah had who ruled in the fear of 
God, and who earnestly sought the reformation of 
the land, as Joash, Hezekiah, Josiah; but more were 
disloyal who walked in the ways of the kings of 
Israel. A fatal mistake was the introduction of the 
idolatrous house of Ahab into the line of David, by 
the marriage of Jehoram with Athalia, 2 Chron. xxi: 
6, one of the wickedest of princesses, a true daugh- 
ter of the hateful Jezebel. The last kings of Judah, 
Manasseh, Jehoiakim, Jehoiakin, and Zedekiah, were 
about as bad as they well could be. It was then 
that Babylon appeared in the field and Judah went 
into a captivity of seventy years; Babylon, the in- 
ventress of idolatry, became the instrument of exe- 
cuting judgment on idolatrous Judah. 

Three times the army of Nebuchadnezzar invaded 
Judah. First, when Jehoiakim was reigning, the 
king who ruthlessly cut with his penknife the scroll 
of Jeremiah and cast the pieces into the brazier of 
coals whereat he warmed himself, Jer. xxxvi:23. 
Jehoiakim surrendered to the Chaldeans, and some 
of the principal men went into captivity, among 
whom were Daniel and his friends, Dan. i:i, 6. The 
second invasion was under Jehoiakin, when a much 
larger deportation of Jews to Babylon took place. 
The third, at the rebellion of Zedekiah, when the 
city was destroyed, and untold suffering endured. 
It was during these stirring times that the powerful 
ministry of Jeremiah was exercised. 


7. Gentile supremacy. With the fall of Israel and 
Judah, the world's power passed into the hands of 
the Gentiles. Babylon was summoned to the place 
of imperial power, of world empire, Jer. xxvii:5-7; 
Dan. ii:37, 38. "Thou art this head of gold." "The 
times of the Gentiles" then began, and they run on 
still. Israel has never been reset in the place of 
independence and of distinct nationality from that 
day to this. 

What then? Is this all? Is there nothing more 
for this poor, dismembered, dispersed people of 
Israel? Surely. God who cannot lie has declared 
they shall yet be Ammi, my people. And their 
restoration and conversion will be blessing for the 
whole world, as their casting away has been bless- 
ing- to the Gentiles, Rom. xi. 


The Books of the Kings give us the general and 
public history of the government of Israel; its glory 
in the reigns of David and Solomon; its fall, and 
the causes which led to it. 

The Books of Chronicles, while traversing sub- 
stantially the same ground, have another purpose, a 
well-defined aim, viz., that of tracing the history of 
Judah, and the house of David. Israel (the king- 
dom of Samaria) does not enter into these books 
save as its kings come into contact with those of Ju- 
dah. In Chronicles there seems to be a kind of 
studied avoidance of any mention of the northern 
kingdom, and the attention of the reader is held 
steadily to Judah, Jerusalem, the temple and its 
priests and services, as if God was now concerned 
exclusively with these. 

The key- word is "Election;" the key- verses, I 
Chron. xvii:7, 8, 27; xxviii:5. 

Chronicles serves well as a title, if we understand 
it to mean the equivalent of "Acts," or "History." 
"Things Omitted" (the title of the Sept.) is inaccu- 
rate. The books are not a supplement to other 
books of Scripture; they are an independent work, 
having their own plan and end. 

I. The time of composition can be approximately 
fixed. The books were written at the close of the 
Babylonian exile. The genealogy of the house of 



David is carried down to Zerubbabel, if not a little 
lower, ^1:17-19. In I Chron. vi:i5 the captivity is 
spoken of in such a way as to make it evident that 
the author was writing in a time subsequent to that 
event. It is generally believed that Ezra was the 
author. Certainly no man of that time could be 
found better fitted for the work. 

2. Contents. These may be conveniently distrib- 
uted into four groups. 

I. Genealogical tables, from Adam to the return from 
the exile, I Chron. i-ix. It is important to observe 
that throughout these long lists of names there is 
traceable the sovereign choice of God. The lines 
follow mainly the track of a blessed generation, 
a separated race. Thus, beginning with Adam, 
we have the family of Seth down to Noah. Then 
after a brief list of the families of Japheth and 
of Ham, the family of Shem, whose God is the 
Lord, is taken up and traced to Abraham who be 
comes, as it were, a fresh stock. His posterity after 
the flesh is first given; then Isaac, the child of 
promise, a fresh stock, because a child of election, 
follows, with Jacob and his twelve sons, of whom 
Judah is the central object of the inspired writer, 
for he is the royal tribe, from whom the Messiah is 
to spring; and the family of David is given the pre- 
eminence in the line of Judah. Two of the sons of 
Israel are omitted, Dan and Zebulun; no genealogy 
of them is given. All through it is the sovereign 
action of grace in the selection of those who are 
brought nigh to God that is prominent. 

II. Davids reign, I Chron. x-xxix:22. After a 
brief account of Saul, I Chron. 1x135; x David's 
throne is the theme, the kingdom, looked at as or- 


dained of God for blessing. And accordingly Da- 
vid's sufferings and faults are passed over in silence, 
except that of numbering the people, I Chron. xxi. 

III. Account of the kingdom under Solomon, I Chron. 
xxix:28-30; 2 Chron. i-ix. "Then Solomon sat on 
the throne of the Lord as king, instead of David, his 
father, and prospered" a remarkable expression 
not found elsewhere (cf. I Chron. xxviii:5). The 
throne was God's; and people and king should have 
sought the realization of the august idea. They did 
not, yet the idea is not lost sight of or abandoned, 
for the Messiah is to fulfill it perfectly. So David 
and Solomon become types in these books of the 
future glory of the true Son and Heir. 

IV. Account of the kingdom of Judah from the dis- 
ruption to the captivity, 2 Chron. x-xxxvi. 

3. Design of First and Second Chronicles. Their 
object is manifold. Some of these purposes may 
be pointed out. First, God's dispensational ways. 
Obviously, with the opening of Chronicles a new 
era begins. Through all the preceding books we 
have the record of God's ways with His chosen 
people, the seed of Abraham. The record is carried 
forward through the second Book of Kings, when 
it is broken off, no less in sorrow than in anger. 
With Chronicles the sacred writer goes back to the 
beginning and starts again with Adam, Seth, etc., 
and dwells with great minuteness on the tribe of 
Judah, and the house of David. With Chronicles, 
therefore, begins the second great division of the 
Bible. Up to this point failure has marked the 
whole history. A fresh start is now made; and 
David's Divine Son, in whom all will be made good, 
comes more and more into prominence. The Books 



of Chronicles are related to the new order of things, 
not to the old. They are not linked with Samuel 
and Kings, but with Ezra and Nehemiah, with Zech- 
ariah and Malachi. They do not look back, but 
forward. The antediluvian economy failed through 
man's sin; the patriarchal likewise; the Jewish next, 
in its national capacity. But here begins a new 
epoch. A remnant according to the election of 
grace returns from captivity to the land of promise; 
and the Spirit of God turns their faces toward Him 
who is promised, who will not fail. 

A second purpose is, to secure the genealogy of 
Christ, as the Son of David. Hence the lineage of 
David's house, and indeed of the whole tribe of Ju- 
dah, is very fully given. Evidently, Matthew and 
Luke availed themselves of Chronicles in tracing 
the human descent of our Lord. 

Another practical object was to confirm the re- 
turned captives in their allegiance and fidelity to the 
Lord. It is pointed out in an impressive manner 
that ordinarily temporal blessing ensued when King 
and people renounced idolatry, destroyed the idols, 
and served the Lord; while punishment followed 
disobedience and apostasy. Such teaching was cal- 
culated to settle the Jews in the conviction that the 
fate of the nation was in their hands. 

4. David's arrangements for the worship of God, I 
Chron. xxiii-xxvi. These provisions relate to the 
services of the temple, and are quite full and ex- 
plicit. The priests, sons of Aaron, were divided 
into twenty-four orders or courses: the Levites into 
twenty-four courses of singers and musicians, por- 
ters, keepers of the treasures of the house of God, 
officers and judges. It is singular that nothing 


touching these arrangements is recorded in the 
books of Samuel or of Kings. The reason for the 
omission of them in those books probably is this: 
in the disorder and confusion consequent upon the 
captivity, much of the knowledge of the order and 
manner of God's worship would be lost, and such a 
guide as here is given would be both necessary and 
useful, indeed, indispensable. Hence they are re- 
corded here alone. 

5. Dedication of the Temple, 2 Chron. v. The 
splendid structure reared on Mt. Moriah was at 
length completed. The Cherubim, let it be observed, 
stood at the lower end of the house, and really 
looked outward, 2 Chron. iii:i3 [margin] as if inti- 
mating that a wider field of blessing ere long would 
be enjoyed. The priests began the dedicatory serv- 
ices, but it was only when the singers and players 
on musical instruments sang and played "as one, to 
make one sound to be heard in praising and thank- 
ing the Lord; and when they lifted up their voices 
with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of 
music, and praised the Lord, for He is good; for His 
mercy endureth forever; that then the house was 
filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord," vss. 
13, 14. So, too, when the disciples "were all with 
one accord in one place," Acts ii:i, the blessing 
came the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them 
in richest profusion. Unity of will, of heart, of 
voice and mind brings the blessing. Our discords 
and jarring purposes and wishes, hinder our prayers 
and worship 

6. Deliverances wrought for the house of David. 
There are four of them, and they mark a kind of 
progress, and were significant signs to Judah. 


(1) Abijah, son of Rehoboam, gained a great 
victory over Jeroboam, 2 Chron. xiii (not recorded 
in Kings). Abijah was completely surrounded by 
the forces of Israel, and escape seemed impossible. 
Judah cried to the Lord, the priests sounded with 
the trumpets, and the men gave a shout, "and God 
smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and 
Judah." "Thus the children of Israel were brought 
under at that time and the children of Judah pre- 
vailed, because they relied upon the Lord God of 
their fathers." 

(2) Asa, son of Abijah and a better man, found 
himself confronted by a prodigious host of Ethiopi- 
ans, 2 Chron. xiv (not recorded in Kings). The 
battle was not yet joined when Asa appealed to God 
in the noble words of faith: " Lord, it is nothing 
with thee to help, whether with many, or with them 
that have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for 
we rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go against 
this multitude. O Lord, Thou art our God; let not 
man prevail against Thee." The Lord in answer to 
the appeal gave him at once the mastery over the 

(3) Jehoshaphat had a still more remarkable de- 
liverance, 2 Chron. xx (not recorded in Kings). He 
was threatened by a formidable combination of Mo- 
abites, Ammonites, and Edomites. In this crisis of 
impending danger he proclaimed a fast throughout 
his kingdom, and summoned a national prayer- 
meeting at Jerusalem. The pious monarch led the 
devotions of the people; and in his prayer he spoke 
of Abraham as the "friend of God," cf. Isa. xli:8; 
Jas. ii:23. He marched out against the enemy, in 
this extraordinary order: in the fore-front of his 


battle-line he put singers who should praise the 
Lord, and who sang the refrain of the Temple- 
hymn, "Praise the Lord, for his mercy endureth 
forever." The army of Judah drew no sword, shot 
no arrow. The Lord turned the arms of the hostile 
allies against each other; and Judah was delivered 
without striking a blow. 

(4) Hezekiah's deliverance was even yet more 
wonderful, 2 Chron. xxxii; 2 Kings xviii, xix. The 
occasion of it was the visit and insulting letter of 
Sennacherib, king of Assyria. The godly monarch 
met the crisis as a man who trusted in God. The 
enemy relied on "chariots and horses," but Heze- 
kiah remembered the name of Jehovah. Sennacherib 
would have laughed, and thought him in an ag- 
ony of fear had he seen the king on his knees 
with the open letter spread out before the Lord. 
The proud boast of the Assyrian was but brief. In 
this case, there was no blare of trumpet, no call to 
arms, no marching of an army. In the silence of 
the night, and unattended by any human agency, 
the angel of the Lord smote the camp of the Assyri- 
ans, and with shame, defeated and broken, the 
proud king turned back to his own land. 

7. A mam cause of JudaWs fall, 2 Chron. xxxvi; 
21 ; cf. Lev. xxvi:34. A striking fulfillment of proph- 
ecy, and the shining proof of its truth. Nearly 
nine hundred years before the event God said that 
the people should be carried away from the land, 
and it should have its rest. And here is the ac- 
complishment. To violate any command of His is 
to bring upon one's self certain punishment. 

There are some apparent discrepancies in these 
books of Chronicles with others of the Old Testa- 


ment. But all of them can be easily explained, or 
are due altogether to errors of transcribers. We 
ought to be thankful that copyists of the Bible, in 
the days before printing, adhered so faithfully to the 
text, and refused to tamper with it in the slightest 
degree. For example, how easily might a tran- 
scriber have changed 2 Sam. viii:4 so as to harmo- 
nize with i Chron. xviii:4; or 2 Chron. xxxvi:g with 
2 Kings xxiv:8. But none of the copyists did so. 
Their reverence for the Word of God was too deep 
and true to allow them for a moment to do anything 
of the sort. How different are some who live in 
our day whose pens are far more reckless and dar- 
ing than Jehoiakim's pen-knife! 


With Ezra and Nehemiah a new era of Jewish his- 
tory begins. The exile has terminated; a remnant of 
the chosen people has returned to their land; the 
temple is rebuilt; and a new order of things inaugu- 
rated. The two books relate to the restoration and 
reorganization, and to the reformation of abuses 
which had crept in. They extend over a period of 
about one hundred years. Key-word, " Restoration.' ' 
Key-verse, Ezra i:5; Neh. ii:5. 

1. New names meet us in these books. Babylon, the 
haughty power that made Judah captive, slew Zede- 
kiah's sons before his eyes and rudely blinded him 
forever, has been overthrown, as it had been pre- 
dicted, Jer. 1:1-3. God had used that proud nation 
to chastise His guilty people; but it exceeded its 
commission, and was in turn punished, Isa. xlvii:6. 
Persia now sways the scepter of universal dominion. 
For the first time we encounter the name of Jews. 
Hitherto Israel is the title by which the chosen peo- 
ple were called; now it alternates with the name that 
came in with the exile of Judah and at length al- 
most entirely supplanted it. In Ezra and Nehemiah 
both are found, while in Esther, Jews alone are 

2. The decree of Cyrus, Ezra. 1:1-4. It was issued 
in the first year of his reign at Babylon, B. C. 536, 
and had for its scope the return of the Jews to Pal- 


estine and the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem. 
Many things are remarkable touching this decree: 

(1) It was promulgated by a heathen king, spon- 
taneously as it would seem, although resulting from 
the exertion of divine influence on his mind, vs. I. 

(2) It recognizes one supreme God, "the Lord God 
of heaven," vs. 2. (3) It declares that the supreme 
God had "charged" the king to rebuild the temple. 
(4) It urges the return of the captives to their own 
land, and blesses them in the name of the Lord God 
of Israel, vs. 3. (5) It directs that gifts be made for 
the building of the temple, vs. 4. The secret of 
God's government of the world is here, in part, open 
to us, and we see how great political events, anteri- 
orly improbable, are brought about by His action on 
men's hearts, Prov. xxi:i. We infer also from the 
decree that either monotheism still prevailed in 
Persia or that Cyrus through contact with the Jews 
had come to know the God of heaven. About fifty 
thousand Jews availed themselves of the privileges 
of Cyrus' decree, and returned to their homes in 
Judea, Ez. ii. 

3. Building and dedication of the temple, Ez. iii-vi. 
Never has any work for God been undertaken which 
did not meet with opposition. It was so in the 
building of the second temple. The leaders in the 
good work were Zerubbabel, a prince of the house 
of David, and Jeshua (or Joshua) the high priest. 
For a brief time they were permitted to prosecute 
their task unmolested; but ere long the enemy be- 
gan to throw hindrances in the way. Satan will 
never allow any inroad on his kingdom without re- 
senting it. A proposition to join in the work was 
made the builders by the half-heathen Samaritans, 

EZRA. J23 

the mongrel population that had been settled in the 
territory of the Ten Tribes by the Assyrian con- 
queror. The overture was declined; and the Samar- 
itans became the open and avowed enemies of the 
Jews. During three reigns, the remainder of that of 
Cyrus, of Cambyses, and the Pseudo-Smerdis, they 
stopped the work on the temple. Beginning again, 
Ez. v:2, the satrap Tatnai and others interfered, but 
failed to arrest it. Then a .letter was sent Darius 
the king, asking that search be made as to the ex- 
istence of the Cyrus decree of which doubt seems 
to have been entertained. No copy of it was to be 
found at the capital, so effectually had the usurper, 
Smerdis, destroyed everything of the previous 
reigns. But at Ecbatana, vi:2, it was discovered; 
and Darius confirmed it by a decree of his own, and 
even directed that aid should be given the Jews 
from the royal taxes that the house of God might 
be completed. Moreover, the voice of prophecy, 
silent since the "third of Cyrus," when Daniel ut- 
tered his last warning (Dan. x:i), is once more 
heard. Haggai and Zechariah exhort, entreat, warn 
and encourage the people in the good work in which 
they are engaged; and at length they see the happy 
accomplishment of the great undertaking. After 
twenty-one years the sanctuary, the "second tem- 
ple," is completed and dedicated with appropriate 
ceremonies, Ez. vi:i4-l8. 

The golden and silver vessels that Nebuchadnez- 
zar had seized and carried to Babylon were restored. 
It was a time of great emotion, loud weeping and 
louder joy. Aged Jews who had seen the first gor- 
geous Temple could not refrain from tears. 

The passover was observed for the first time for 


seventy years at least. Six memorable passovers 
are recorded in the Old Testament: the first in 
Egypt, Ex. xii; the second in the wilderness, Num. 
ix; the third at Gilgal, Josh, v; the fourth in the 
reign of Hezekiah, 2 Chron. xxx; the fifth in the 
eighteenth year of Josiah, 2 Kings xxiii; the sixth 
this of the restored exiles, Ez. ving. If we add that 
in connection with which our Lord was crucified, we 
have seven notable observances of this feast in the 
history of Israel. 

4. Second return of Jews under Ezra, and reforms, 
Ez. vii-x. Fifty-seven years after the dedication of 
the temple, a further return of Israelites from cap- 
tivity took place under the leadership of Ezra. His 
authority to execute the objects he had in view 
was derived from a decree issued to Ezra by Arta- 
xerxes in the seventh year of his reign, vii:8, 12-26. 
The royal commission contemplated (i) the return 
of all so minded with Ezra to Jerusalem, vs. 13. 
According to chapter viii, 1,773 adult male colonists 
accompanied Ezra. "Counting five to a family this 
would give a total of nearly 9,000 souls;" (2) the 
decree invested Ezra with the chief authority over 
the whole district '* beyond the river," vss. 25, 26; 
(3) an exemption from taxation of every kind was 
granted to all grades of Levites, vs. 24; (4) convey- 
ing of certain offerings of the king and his officers 
to Jerusalem, vss. 15, 19. There can be hardly any 
doubt but that numbers of the ten tribes returned 
with Ezra to Judea. The term Israel which occurs 
frequently in both Ezra and Nehemiah, indicates 
this, Ez. ii:7O; vii:28, etc. Besides, sacrifices were 
offered for the twelve tribes, Ez. vi:i6, 17- viii:35- 
Priests and Levites were found in considerable num- 

EZEA. 125 

bers among the restored captives, even the descend- 
ants of the high priest as was Ezra himself, for he 
was of the lineage of Hilkiah and Aaron, Ez. viin, 
5. Many Jews remained in the provinces of Baby- 
lon, as we know from the book of Esther, and they 
established there schools which gave birth at length 
to the Babylonian Talmud, the most influential of 
all the Jewish uninspired writings. Mr. Wilkinson, 
of the Mildmay Mission to the Jews, in his book, 
"Israel My Glory," demonstrates that on the return 
from the captivity of Babylon all the tribes of Israel 
were represented in the resettlement of Palestine; 
and this fact helps to solve not a few problems, as 
e. g. that of the lost ten tribes, the address of James 
to the twelve tribes, Jas. i:i, etc. Of course, it is 
not denied that there are remnants of those lost 
tribes scattered over the world who will be restored 
when God sets His hand a second time to bring 
back His people, Is. xi:ii, but it may be well for us 
to reflect that among the Israelites known to us in 
Asia, Europe and America, there are descendants of 
the twelve tribes; not those of Judah and Benjamin 

5. Ezra as a reformer. All through his book there 
are evidences that his chief aim was to reorganize 
the worship of God, to instruct the people in the 
law, and to restore the ancient rights and customs. 
That he was competent for such work is clear 
from the fact of his being "a ready scribe in the 
law of Moses," Ez. vii:6. By this is meant that he 
was not only a careful and accurate transcriber, but 
also a sound interpreter of the law. His influence 
ovef the Jews of his time and of succeeding ages 
was very great. He ranked with David and Moses. 



1 i) He brought about the repudiation of heathen 
wives, Ez. x:io. Out of the whole population there 
were 112 cases of mixed marriages to which the 
law of Moses was applied and obeyed. 

(2) He was an expounder of the law to the peo- 
ple, Neh. viii. His public teaching was of the most 
effective kind, for it was followed by the very best 
results, viz., reformation, penitence, and genuine 
sorrow for sin. 

(3) A persistent Jewish tradition ascribes to him 
the founding of that beneficent institution of later 
Judaism, the synagogue. 

(4) He had much to do, it is very generally be- 
lieved, with the arrangement of the canon of the 
Old Testament. The order in which the book of 
Psalms comes to us, it has been long held, is due to 
Ezra. That he was in a position to do such im- 
portant work is evident from the fact of his being 
learned in the Word of God and the inspiration of 
the Spirit of God which he enjoved. 


Nehemiah was an official of rank at the court of the 
Persian monarch, Artaxerxes Longimanus. He is not 
to be confounded with the Nehemiah who returned 
from the exile to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel and 
Joshua, Ezra ii:2. The "cup-bearer" to the king 
flourished and wrought his good work under God in 
behalf of the restored captives nearly one hundred 
years after Zerubbabel reached Judea. This book 
extends over a period of about twelve years, viz., 
from B. C. 445 to 433. It contains the account of 
Nehemiah himself and of certain proceedings in 
which he was engaged between the twentieth and 
thirty-second or thirty-third years of Artaxerxes' 
reign. It is the last of the Old Testament historical 
books. Its design is to supplement and complete 
the account of the return of the Jews from captivity 
recorded in Ezra, to record the circumstances at- 
tending the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem 
and the reforms which were introduced. While 
Nehemiah is almost universally admitted to be the 
author, there are evidences that he availed himself 
of documents existing in his day for certain portions 
of his work. Its date is B. C. 430-432. 

The contents may be distributed thus: Introduc- 
tory, chapters i, ii; in which the writer narrates the 
circumstances under which he engaged in the work 
of reconstructing the walls of the city, and the au- 


thority given him by the king so to do. The main 
narrative, chapters iii-vii:5; where it is interrupted by 
a list of the families that returned in the first expe- 
dition; then, from the close of chapter vii, the nar- 
rative is resumed and continued, with other lists 
inserted, to the end of the book. It will be observed 
that Neh. vii and Ezra ii are identical, or nearly so. 
Which list is the original, and which the copy? Or 
did these two writers copy from some genealogical 
register extant in their times? Nehemiah tells us 
vii:5, that he found a register of the genealogy of 
those who went up at the first language which 
plainly signifies that the list he gives was one which 
he found already existing, and the fair supposition 
is that it was either that of Ezra ii, or some docu- 
ment that preserved the family records of the Jews. 
Probably the former supposition is nearer the truth. 

Nehemiah gives a vivid picture of the condition 
of the Jews at the time of the restoration. Their 
feebleness and paucity of numbers are very notice- 
able. The sneer of Sanballat that a fox might break 
down their walls suggests much. The list in chap- 
ter vii gives of "the whole congregation together" 
42,360, and of servants, 7,337, and 245 singers. The 
weakness of the congregation is seen when this 
number is compared with the times when Judah 
alone numbered 470,000 warriors, I Chron. xxi:5. 

Ezra was a great reformer, and he was ably sup- 
ported in the work of reorganization by this earnest 
and uncompromising champion of pure Judaism 
Nehemiah. News of the afflictions of his people at 
Jerusalem and of the ruined condition of the walls 
of the holy city reached him at the Persian court, 
and caused him profound grief. He sought and ob- 



tained leave of his sovereign to go up to Jerusalem 
and rebuild the broken walls of the city. This was 
about twelve or thirteen years after the first visit of 
Ezra. Keeping his mission secret, Nehemiah 
planned the work he had set himself to do; parti- 
tioned out the task among a large number of work- 
ing-parties, all acting simultaneously; and in a little 
more than seven weeks the entire wall was repaired 
and restored to its full height, Neh. vi:i5. Strong 
doors were set in the gateway, guards established, 
and the gates were kept closed from nightfall "until 
the sun was hot," vii:3. Nehemiah's administration 
at Jerusalem was not less than thirteen years, and 
he governed with the same vigor, promptness, and 
energy which marked the opening months of his 

(1) His hospitality, dispensed both towards na- 
tives and foreigners, was generous, v:i4-i8. 

(2) He augmented the population of Jerusalem 
by bringing men in from the country districts, xi:i. 

(3) He redeemed large numbers of Jews who 
had been sold into slavery among the heathen, and 
restored them to their native land; and put an end 
to a system of borrowing money of the most op- 
pressive sort, v:i-i3; x:3i. 

(4) He enforced the strict observance of the Sab- 
bath, x:3i; xiii:i5-22; and the annual payment for 
the temple-service, x:32-37. 

(5) Like Ezra, he compelled all those who had 
married foreign wives to divorce them, xiii:i~3, 23- 
28. Strict, prompt, uncompromising, he would al- 
low no relaxation of the old law, no departure from 
the old ways, no consorting with foreigners. He 
found that Tobiah the Ammonite, was living in one 


of the chambers of the house of God by the sanction 
of Eliashib, the guardian of the temple, and forthwith 
Nehemiah of his own authority turned all the furni- 
ture into the street, xiii:7, 8. Ezra was the ecclesi- 
astical reformer of his times, Nehemiah the civil. 
The one reorganized the priesthood, the other soci- 
ety. Both labored untiringly to bring back the re- 
turned captives to the law of Moses, and the prac- 
tice of strict Judaism. What is most striking in 
these books is the intense monotheism, the Jewish 
nationalism which would have nothing to do even 
with the Samaritans. 

Results of ttie captivity, (i) It cured the Jews of 
all hankering after strange gods. They returned to 
their land with deep abhorrence of idol worship, 
and resumed their places as witnesses to the su- 
preme and sole Deity of Jehovah. To this day they 
have never forgotten the lesson. Into whatever 
earthliness and blindness of heart they may have 
fallen, they have never returned to the idolatry of 
Ahaz and Manasseh. The mother of idols, Baby- 
lon, crushed the spirit of idolatry in IsraeL 

(2) The restoration did not set Israel in the 
place they had lost. There was no Shechinah in 
the Most Holy Place, no Urim or Thummim with 
the priest, no national independence as formerly. 
They were subject to the Persians, the Greeks, the 
Romans, who finally demolished the temple, trod 
the city into the dust, and led forth the people into 
an exile which still endures. From the return from 
Babylon to the appearing of the Messiah we read of 
no miracle or miraculous intervention of God. In 
the expressive language of the Epistle to the He- 
brews the dispensation "was waxing old, and ready 



to perish," viii:i3. God might visit in grace and 
mercy, as we know He did, but there was no more 
the visible power of former times. When an econ- 
omy has been spoiled and ruined by man's unfaith- 
fulness and sin, God does not restore it to its origi- 
nal purity and power; He removes it to introduce 
something better. 



The book of Esther chronologically falls into the 
interval between the first and the second expedi- 
tions to Jerusalem from Babylon, a period embrac- 
ing about eighty years. Ahashuerus' reign began 
in B. C. 486, and ended in B. C. 465 twenty-one 
years. In the third year of his reign the events nar- 
rated in this book commenced. The book is anony- 
mous, but it must have been written not long after 
the death of Ahashuerus Rawlinson thinks within 
twenty years from the death of that monarch. It is 
a deeply interesting book, one of the inspired com- 
mentaries on God's marvelous providence. 

The key-word is "Providence"; the key-verse, iv: 

i. Principal characters of the book dramatis per- 

(1) Ahashuerus. No doubt this is the Hebrew 
name for the famous Persian king, Xerxes. Khshay- 
arsha is said to be his Persian name; and the simi- 
larity between it and the Hebrew is so great as to 
be almost identical. The Greeks turned it into 
Xerxes. This is the man who played so important 
a part in Grecian history; who marched his army 
against Greece; who insanely attempted to chain 
the Hellespont, and madly beat the sea with whips 
because forsooth it broke up his boats. 

(2) Mordecai, a Jew dwelling at Shushan and in- 

ESTHER. 133 

timate at court; an upright, intelligent, and far- 
sighted man, to whose noble heart the people of Is- 
rael were very dear. He was of the family of Kish 
and of the tribe of Benjamin. He was the first 
cousin of Esther, whom he had brought up as his own 
daughter. Her Hebrew name was Hadassah, Esther 
being probably Persian. She was an orphan, and a 
woman not only of great beauty, but also of sa- 
gacity and devotion. Her "woman's wit" was more 
than a match for the astute and malignant Haman. 
(3) Haman was a high officer at the court of 
Xerxes, was possessed of princely wealth, v:i I, stood 
nearest the throne, was entrusted with the king's 
signet-ring, and had the power of life and death 
over the subjects of the empire, iii:i, 10-12. But 
withal he was a man of utmost vanity, blindest prej- 
udices, and capable of the deadliest enmity; a time- 
serving, selfish, implacable, swaggering bully, a man 
whose mind was covered over at the top so as to 
shut out all lofty aspirations, and closed in at the 
sides so as to shut out all kindness, and open only 
at the bottom for the incoming of base passions, 
pride, haughtiness and hate. Singular, when all the 
world was bowing down to him, Haman would go 
home to boast of his riches, his children, his high 
standing with the king and queen, and yet wind up 
the list of his successes with the doleful note, "Yet 
all this availeth me nothing so long as I see Mor- 
decai, the Jew, sitting at the king's gate;" supremely 
unhappy because one poor man refused to stand up 
with turban in his hand as he passed in and out of 
the palace-gate. Haman was an Agagite, probably 
a descendant of Amalek; and being such Mordecai 
could not pay him homage, Ex. xvii:i6. 


2. The design of the book is to show God's prov- 
idential care of His people. It also illustrates the 
nature and ways of Divine Providence. Multitudes 
of Jews remained in the region of Babylon after the 
publication of Cyrus' decree for the return to Judea. 
They had been born and reared there and would not 
exchange it even for Jerusalem. The same God who 
watched over the builders of the temple and the 
walls of the holy city also guarded these stranger 
Jews in the one hundred and twenty provinces of 
Ahashuerus' empire, and this book is the record of 
His care for them. "No weapon that is formed 
against thee" is the lesson it teaches. It is an in- 
spired commentary on the great promise, " I will 
not fail nor forsake thee," Deu. xxxi:6; Heb. xiii:$. 
Note some of the characteristic features. 

3. Providence is secret, mysterious, and even 
unintelligible until its ends are revealed. One pe- 
culiarity of the book is that the name of God is not 
found in it. In this it differs from all other portions 
of the word of God. Even the shortest Psalm has 
it. "The author avoids, as if by design, the name of 
God," writes Ewald. And yet there are few parts 
of Scripture where He is more obviously present 
than in this. There must be a reason for this omission 
of the name, (i) The Jews' relation to God. They 
were out of the land of promise and of the covenant, 
and were in that of the stranger; they held no longer 
any position owned of God. So God acts toward 
them in accordance with the facts. He stands at a 
distance from them, as we may say; does not show 
Himself openly; watches over them from afar, and 
in a nameless way; and therefore, characteristically, 
His name does not appear in this book just as 

ESTHER. 135 

He Himself is not seen in open interposition in their 
behalf. Infinite goodness delivers them, but in a 
way in exact accordance with the relation they sus- 
tain to Him. But this is likewise the distinctive 
feature of Providence in the broadest sense. It is 
mysterious, nameless, often paradoxical and inex- 
plicable; yet to faith the finger of God is visible in 
every event, His hand is discovered in the strange 
weaving that goes on. Men and women appear to 
be the chief actors in this drama: Ahashuerus,Vashti, 
Esther, Mordecai, Haman and the rest, these are the 
prominent figures; these seem to be doing all that 
is done. But back of the screen there stands One 
who is infinitely wise and loving and patient, who 
guides all things for the accomplishment of His 
glorious purposes, and for the good of His people. 
His name is not mentioned, as He Himself is not 
seen save as faith discovers Him; yet in all that oc- 
curs He is present. We live in a world governed 
by a system of laws invariable and constant, so we 
are told. Doubtless. But back of all law, natural 
or otherwise, One is who upholds and controls all, 
and uses them for His glory, Heb. i:3. Here is a 
great manufactory. Thousands of spindles are twirl- 
ing, numberless wheels and shafts and belts are 
revolving; men and women run here and there, re- 
ceiving the finished material, supplying the machin- 
ery with fresh. Who turns all that vast and com- 
plicated mechanism? Itself? The men and women 
attending it? No. Outside, in the little brick build- 
ing pulses and throbs the strong engine that moves 
all within. Who shape and guide the events of the 
world? Statesmen, politicians, armies? Only in a 
very subordinate way. Every wheel and screw, ev- 


ery shaft, pivot and belt in the complicated machin- 
ery of human affairs is under the hand of Him, 
who is unseen and nameless, and yet who controls 
and conducts all things according to His sovereign 
will. Nevertheless, He seems to stand apart from 
them, and at a distance. It is appropriate, there- 
fore, that in a book devoted to the elucidation of 
God's mysterious providence His name should be 

(2) Another characteristic is, attention to minutia 
and detail. Providence in this book takes up the 
little things, the trifles as men name them, and out 
of these works its far-reaching aims. Out of the 
whim of Ahashuerus during his great feast the queen 
Vashti was set aside, and Esther, the orphan Jewess, 
chosen in her stead, i, ii. A sleepless night on the 
part of the king led to the consultation of the court 
journals and the discovery of Modecai's fidelity 
whereby the king's life had been saved, which 
brought him into royal favor and set him in a posi- 
tion effectively to counteract and checkmate the 
cruel plots of the enemy, Haman, against the Jews, 
vi. In its marvelous unfoldings, Providence never 
neglects what men may be disposed to regard as 
things of no moment. It takes up the details, the 
minutia, the shreds and ravelings of life, and it 
combines and twists them together into a mighty 
cable by which irresistibly the purposes of God are 
drawn forward and accomplished. All revolutions, 
changes, achievements whatsoever, greatest and 
smallest, which the world has ever beheld, have 
often, in the course of their genesis, depended on 
the merest trifles, on the turning of straws, we 
might say. 

ESTHER. 137 

It is the delight of the historian to trace the start- 
ing-point of the French revolution to the cast of a 
camp kettle over the head of a Marquis Riqueti as 
he lay wounded on a bridge at the battle of Cosano. 
That marquis, thus saved from death, became the 
grandfather of the fiery Mirabeau who was the 
prime leader in the movement which culminated in 
the horrors of the Revolution. It was the flight of 
birds from north toward the south which turned the 
prows of Columbus' little ships to the southern half 
of the western hemisphere, and which led ultimately 
to the settlement of that section of the world by the 
peoples of the Latin race. God's Providence meant 
that this northern continent should be reserved for 
a very different people, a Protestant people, with an 
open Bible, and with church and state completely 
separated. History is filled with similar instances of 
the very greatest and most far-reaching consequences 
following small divergences at the starting-point. 
As with nations so with the individual. 

Many a one's whole life-current has been changed 
by a trivial circumstance; by going around the 
square of a city in one direction rather than in an- 
other, by meeting casually with another whose 
words exert a lasting influence. 

(3) The intelligence and wisdom of Providence 
is another feature which the book reveals. Fate is 
blind. Providence has eyes. Fatalism says, What- 
ever is, must be. Providence says, Whatever God 
ordains must be; but God never ordains anything 
without a benevolent purpose. Esther strikingly il- 
lustrates all this. We see how exactly God adjusts 
everything to accomplish His will. Queen Esther 
comes to the throne for just such a time of distress 


and exigency as that through which the Jews were 
to pass, iv:i4, 16. Sleep is taken from Ahashuerus 
at precisely the right time, vi:i~3. A day sooner or 
a day later might have been fatal. Mordecai is 
brought into prominence at the right juncture, vi:io 
13. On the thirteenth day of the first month the lot 
was cast by the superstitious Haman for the slaugh- 
ter of the innocent people of Mordecai; and it fixed 
the day of execution on the thirteenth of the twelfth 
month, one year hence. God ordered it so that suf- 
ficient time should intervene, that there might be 
ample opportunity for counteraction and ultimate 
deliverance, iii:;; viiiig-i/; ix:i, 2. 

4. Alleged difficulties. Some have objected to the 
contents of Esther as improbable. It has been 
said that it is unlikely that the Persian monarch 
would issue an order for the destruction of the Jews, 
and afterward a counter-order authorizing them to 
slay their enemies, his own subjects. But if it be 
true as related by an ancient historian (Diodorus 
Siculus), that Xerxes put the Medians forward at 
Thermopylae that they might be all killed because 
he believed they were not reconciled to the loss of 
their national supremacy, it is surely not incredible 
that he should grant permission to his chief officer 
to destroy strangers who were represented as danger- 
ous to the well-being of the state. Besides, we are 
to remember that the events of the book transpired 
after the disastrous expedition to Greece. Xerxes, 
we may well believe, was exasperated with the re- 
sult, and in no humor to show clemency. Haman 
insinuated that vast revenues would flow into the 
king's treasury from the plundered Jews, and in the 
exhausted condition of the finances the plot must 

ESTHEB. 139 

have commended itself to the king of the Persians. 
Furthermore, we must remember that the stupid 
custom of the Medes and Persians as to the irre- 
versible nature of a royal decree still prevailed, and 
Xerxes himself, autocrat as he was, could not annul 
it. The only thing to be done was to authorize the 
Jews to defend themselves, and this the king did. 
The feast of Purim, instituted at the time, became a 
national observance, and has remained to this day as 
the most cherished of Jewish usages, and is proof 
of the integrity and validity of the book. 



The book of Job is one of the noblest poems in 
existence. The splendor of imagery which glows 
on every page; the personages introduced into it; 
the mysterious problems which it discusses; the ac- 
tion which sweeps through every emotion of the 
soul and strikes every chord of the human heart, 
invest the book with peculiar interest. 

"The key-word is "Chastisement;" the key-verse, 
xxxiv:3i, 32. 

It is anonymous. It has been ascribed to Job 
himself, to Elihu, to Solomon, Ezra, Moses and 
others. The question of its authorship can never be 
finally settled. There is something very attractive 
in the view that while Moses was sojourning in 
Midian he came in contact with those who told of 
Job's great trial and of his happy deliverance, and 
that he wrote this majestic poem; but we cannot 
verify it. The anonymous character of the book, 
however, does not invalidate it. The authorship of 
Esther and of the Epistle to the Hebrews is un- 
known, yet their canonicity is not questioned. 

i. Is Job a real or fictitious character? The actual 
existence of the patriarch has been denied by many. 
Rabbi Maimonides, of the twelfth century, appears 
to have been the first to advance this notion. In 
current literature one meets with it almost con- 

JOB. 141 

stantly. We hold that the contents of this book 
are veritable history. The extreme circumstantiality 
of the details; the description of Job, of his family 
and friends, with their names and special desig- 
nations, his country, property, and many other 
points of the like nature, mark the history rather 
than fiction. Besides, the Bible itself settles this 
matter for all who receive it as God's Word. The 
prophet Ezekiel associates him with Noah and Dan- 
iel, in a way to make his identity as real as those 
other servants of God, Ezek. xiv:i4, 20. If Daniel 
and Noah were persons, then was Job also, Jas. v: 
ii; "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and 
have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very 
pitiful, and of tender mercy." That reference would 
be wholly without point, and an impeachment of 
the apostle's inspiration if Job were mythical. 

2. The age in which Job lived. Usher's chronology 
fixes it at B. C. 1520, twenty-nine years before the 
Exodus. But if the book were contemporary with 
the deliverance from Egypt, we might expect some 
reference to the events connected therewith, and 
more particularly in a debate in which human suf- 
fering, and God's providence are the theme. Silence 
here is inexplicable. That Job lived in patriarchal 
times is very probable. He survived his sore trial 
one hundred and forty years, xlii:i6. He must have 
been of considerable age when the trial began, for 
he was the father of ten children, seven sons and 
three daughters, i:2. He could be hardly less than 
fifty when the reverses came upon him; and his en- 
tire life must have been about two hundred years. 
Men had ceased long before the time of Moses to 
live to this age. Terah lived two hundred and five 


years; Abraham, one hundred and seventy-five; 
Isaac, one hundred and eighty; Jacob, one hundred 
and forty-seven; Joseph, one hundred and ten; 
Moses, one hundred and twenty. Job must have 
lived nearer to Abraham than to Moses; and this 
book was composed probably long before the first 
book of Moses; and so is no doubt the oldest record 
in the world. The sacrifice which Job offered for 
his children is patriarchal, combining with it the es- 
sential idea of the sin-offering, and he acts as the 
priest, being the head of his family, as was the com- 
mon practice of the patriarchs. From the four con- 
stellations mentioned in xxxviii:3i, 32, three mathe- 
maticians have computed that Job's trial took place 
about B. C. 2100. There may be error, of course, in 
these calculations, as it is confessedly difficult to 
identify the constellations mentioned in the chap- 
ter; still, it is remarkable that three independent 
and scholarly investigators should arrive at about 
the same results, there being only forty-two years 
difference between them. 

2. Structure of the book. It consists of three parts: 
Part I., Introductory narrative in prose, chapters i, 
ii. Part II., The poem, iii-xlii:6. Part III., Con- 
cluding narrative in prose, xlii:/-!/. 

It will be observed that the poem is very regular 
and simple in form. Its order is natural through- 
out. And yet it is replete with art the most subtle 
and attractive. With admirable skill and wonderful 
force the problem is introduced, the frightful dis- 
proportion of happiness and misery in this world. 
The sad plight of Job, the dreadful losses he sus- 
tains, the horrible disease which consumes his flesh 
and racks his frame, the agonizing wail he at length 

JOB. 143 

pours forth, the dark questions that haunt his mind, 
the black doubts that assail his faith, the gulf of in- 
fidelity that yawns to receive him these in awful 
grandeur are set before the three philosophers with 
masterly hand. And the philosophers are utterly 
powerless to grapple with the problem. After three 
speeches each, save Zophar, who speaks but twice, 
they succumb and are silent. Then follow the splen- 
did monologues of Elihu, who, although he goes far 
toward answering the questions and solving the 
problem, leaves it. still in doubt and darkness. But 
his addresses prepare the way for the appearing of 
the Lord on the scene, who speaks, sets Job right, 
and full blessing ensues. 

4. Design of the book. It is threefold. I. To re- 
fute the slander of Satan. 2. To discuss the ques- 
tion of human suffering, and particularly the suffer- 
ing of the righteous. 3. To reveal Job to himself, 
and remove the self-righteousness which prevented 
the full measure of blessing which God had in store 
for him. 

5. Job's happy estate, i:i-5; xxix. It is clear enough 
from these sections of the book that he was wealthy, 
influential, devout, benevolent, and highly esteemed 
in short, a mighty Sheik in the land of Uz. 

Touching his nationality little is known. There 
is no account of his ancestry, no mention of his 
parentage. We only know that he belonged to the 
great Shemitic family to which almost all God's 
revelations have been made. He comes before us 
in mature manhood, whence no one knows (even 
the location of Uz is conjectural): he disappears in 
the grave when his fitful life with its strange vicissi- 
tudes is over. This is characteristic. It is the prob- 


lem God keeps before us the mystery of Provi- 
dence, the malice of Satan, the good enclosed in 
suffering. These he would have us see, not the man 
so much. 

Job's prosperity for a time was uninterrupted. In 
his own striking imagery, "I washed my steps with 
butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil." 
His personal character is thus described: "And 
that man was perfect and upright and one that 
feared God and eschewed evil," i:i, 8. He was hon- 
est and straightforward and sincere in his guileless- 
ness. No duplicity either toward God or man was 
found in him. In his solicitude for his children and 
in his kindness and helpfulness to all about him, the 
genuineness of his piety was exhibited. He was 
happy in his relationship with God, happy in his 
family, possessed of princely wealth, loved and 
trusted by his fellows in short, the most powerful 
Sheik in the East. But in a day his joy fled, his 
prosperity blighted, his children cold in death, him- 
self smitten with pain and anguish beyond the lot of 
men. What is the meaning of the dreadful reverses 
which befell him? This leads us to the contempla- 
tion of one of the main designs of the book. 

6. Satan's slander against Job, i :g- 1 1 ; ii:4, 5. The 
singular spectacle is presented of the Prince of 
Darkness appearing in the train of the Most High. 
But Satan is there for a definite purpose, viz., to ac- 
cuse and malign, Rev. xii:io. One question he 
starts, as full of subtlety as of malice: "Doth 
Job serve for naught?" 'Is not the allegiance which 
receives such direct and tangible rewards only a re- 
fined form of selfishness? His fealty is mercenary, 
his attachment is for hire;' "he serveth not God, 

JOB. 145 

but himself upon God." And Satan boldly asserts 
that if these external blessings were withdrawn, 
Job's allegiance would be cast off "he will curse 
thee to thy face." One main feature of the prob- 
lem which the book discusses is thus distinctly pro- 
pounded: Can goodness exist irrespective of re- 
ward? Can the fear of God live when every induce- 
ment is withdrawn? Is allegiance to God based on 
the love and knowledge of Him, or does it exist 
only for the advantages it secures, the immunities 
it enjoys? The problem is one of infinite moment; 
for if the love and grace of God only serve to pro- 
duce a refined selfishness, then His whole work is 
abortive, and God is unable to retrieve the ruin of 

There was no method by which these slanderous 
accusations could be more effectively silenced than 
by the removal of those things on which the ad- 
versary asserted Job's fidelity depended. And 
so the servant of God was tested to the uttermost. 
The trial was twofold. First, his wealth and his 
children were suddenly snatched away from him. 
The book clearly teaches that it was through Satanic 
agency, in the mysterious government of God, that 
these dreadful losses were sustained. But out of 
this furnace Job issues without the smell of fire on 
his garments, i:2i, 22; "In all this, Job sinned not, 
nor charged God foolishly." In this assault Satan 
was forbidden to touch Job's person, i:I2. He next 
affirms that Job will give up all for his life, 11:4. 
That this is also a lie, the devil knows perfectly 
well. Myriads of God's dear people have gone to 
the worst forms of death for the name and the love 
of Christ. Permission, however, is given, up to the 


point only this side of death, and he is smitten with 
a loathsome disease elephantiasis it is thought to 
have been, a disease believed by many in the East 
to be the judgment of God. The patriarch sat 
down on the ash-heap in unspeakable desolation, 
anguish and woe, bereft of property, children, 
health; his wife advising him to renounce the God 
whom he had served so long. Will he finally break 
with God? Is there anything left to keep him 
faithful? Blessed be God for sustaining and con- 
quering grace! Out of the final trial Job comes 
forth triumphantly: "In all this did not Job sin 
with his lips," ii:io. 

It is proved, therefore, once for all, and never 
more to be disputed, that Job's loyalty is not 
grounded in selfishness, that true piety lives when 
all external advantages are withdrawn, and that 
God's grace is more than a match for Satan's malice 
and the deep-rooted egotism of sin. Thus, one 
prime object of the book stands disclosed. But 
God had other and greater ends in the sufferings of 
his servant, which will appear in the sequel. It was 
not needful to send Job to such a terrible school of 
afBiction merely to prove the Devil a liar. He was 
that from the beginning, Jno. viii:44. There must 
be ulterior designs. 

7. Let the reader note how prominent Satan is 
in the earlier chapters of the book. We know that 
he was the real instigator of Job's woes. Probably 
the patriarch himself did not; and so all the more 
inexplicable and mysterious his sufferings must 
have appeared to him and his friends, the comfort- 
ers. Now, some things respecting this great Evil 
Spirit we gather from this inspired record. ( i) His 

JOB. 147 

personality. Satan is no myth. Every attribute, 
quality, action, mark, and sign which can indicate 
personality, are ascribed to him with a precision of 
language which refuses to be explained away. If 
we attempt to interpret this and the like Scripture 
as only meaning the principle of evil and not a per- 
son, then there is an end to all rules of fixed 
thought, and the Bible may mean anything and ev- 
erything we please. (2) His power. It is simply 
tremendous. He brought fire from heaven to con- 
sume the sheep [electricity]; the storm from the 
desert, which crushed the house where the young 
people were feasting: i. e., he can, when permitted, 
wield the forces of nature for the accomplishment of 
his wicked designs. (3) His enmity is even greater 
than his power. He pursues his evil ends with tire- 
less energy and sleepless vigilance. (4) Still, he is 
subordinate. He can afflict only so far and when 
God for inscrutable purposes permits him. There 
was a "hedge" about Job through which Satan 
could not break. No doubt, like the lion he is, I 
Pet. v:8, he travelled round and round that hedge, 
but always on the outside. " He can go only the 
length of his chain." 

It is noteworthy that nearly all the revelation we 
have of this great evil spirit is found in the New 
Testament. Rarely is he mentioned in the Old in 
Eden, in Job, David, Joshua the High Priest. God 
delayed the full disclosure of him to later times, and 
then gave him twenty-eight names which fully de- 
scribe him. 

The other great features of the poem are now to 
be pointed out. These are two: The meaning of 
human suffering, particularly the suffering of the 


righteous; and the revelation of Job to himself. 
The first is the theme of the great Debate, chapters 
iv, xxxi. The second is traceable through the en- 
tire poem from chapter iii to chapter xlii, and is 
this: that the patriarch, with all his pre-eminent ex- 
cellencies, secretly cherished and probably unwit- 
tingly cherished, somewhat of self-righteousness, a 
kind of religious pride which marred his lovely char- 
acter and hindered the blessing God would bestow 
upon him; and this, cost what it might, must be cut 
up by the roots. 

Many a citadel is proof against assault which yet 
may be obliged to succumb to the slow and steady 
progress of a siege. The first onset of pain is not 
so formidable as its protracted endurance. Job is 
now in this stage, the worst of all. Day after day 
he is compelled to drag his weary burden, how long 
we know not. Some time elapsed between the first 
wild outburst of trouble and the arrival of his 

The comforters were men of experience and wis- 
dom, and profoundly religious. Piety and the fear 
of the Lord breathe throughout all their discourses. 
They cherished the kindliest feelings toward their 
stricken friend, and had come expressly to minister 
to his wounded spirit, ii 111-13. Their visit, their sit- 
ting with him in silence for seven days with torn 
garments and dust on their heads, prove the sin- 
cerity of their sympathy. Nevertheless, their pres- 
ence only served to exasperate him, and aggravate 
his misery. 

I. Job's first monologue, iii. It is unexampled for 
its expression of anguish and for its pathos. What 
language is there, and what imagery? He curses 

JOB. 149 

his birthday, and hurls anathemas upon his life; 
asks that God may expunge that day from His cal- 
endar of time, that it may be frightened with hor- 
rible sounds, and chased forever by devouring death, 
that in eternity it may be a sunless day and a star- 
less night. A similar instance of the effect of accu- 
mulated sorrows is found in the life of Jeremiah, xx: 
14-18. It does not appear that the friends had ut- 
tered a word. Job opened the dialogue. They sat 
in total silence, covered with dust, gazing on a grief 
too profound for them to reach. As we read these 
utterances, choked with passion and with tears, we 
feel that Job had very imperfectly learned to say, 
"Thy will be done." He broke down in the very 
thing for which he was noted patience. But let us 
remember Job did not know himself. He was com- 
placently resting in his "integrity," which is another 
name for self-righteousness. There was a root of bit- 
terness in him of which he seems to have been ignor- 
ant, but which must be eradicated. He had to learn 
the lesson to which all the saints are set down, viz., 
that the egotism of nature is offensive to God; that 
there is no confidence to be put in the flesh. And so, 
one aim of the book is to reveal Job to himself, and 
thus deliver him from the evil his afflictions were 
meant to remove. But let it be remembered that h* 
curses his day, not his God, as Satan would have him 
do. He curses the day of his natural birth, not the day 
of his new birth. Amid all his doubts and darkness 
never for a moment does his faith in God waver- 
11 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him," is his 
magnificent resolution. 

2 The debate. It consists of three rounds. Each 
ot the three philosophers speaks three times, save 


Zophar, who speaks but twice, and Job replies to 
each in succession, chapters iv, xxxi. 

The first round, chapters iv, xiv. The question is 
propounded by Eliphaz very skillfully and strongly, 
iv, v. God blesses the just, punishes the unjust. 
The proposition of Eliphaz is this: He that sins 
must suffer; as Job is a dreadful sufferer, he must 
be guilty of some grievous sin. Job replies, vi, vii, 
complaining that there is no adequate cause for his 
afflictions, that God treats him as if an irrational 
being, a sea or a sea-monster. His plaint resembles 
that of chapter iii, only more subdued and humble. 
Bildad follows in the same strain of Eliphaz, viii. 
"If thou wert pure and upright, surely now he 
would awake for thee;" and since He does not, 
something must be frightfully wrong. Job stoutly 
resists the imputation, and appeals to God, who 
knows that he is not wicked, as charged, ix, x. 
Zophar urges that he is certainly guilty, and exhorts 
him to repentance, xi. Job's reply, xii-xiv, is re- 
markable. He shows how the wicked often prosper, 
how God does as He pleases with great and small, 
and appeals from them to God. 

In the second round, chapters xv-xxi, the com- 
forters increase in the severity of their tone, and 
urge with considerable vehemence that it is the 
wicked who are scourged, not the righteous, and 
assail the integrity of Job, intimating broadly 
that he is guilty of some secret sin, some colossal 
crime. Zophar, the most impetuous and severe of 
all, insinuates that there is hypocrisy in the case, 
that God has at length torn the mask from the false 
face and he now stands revealed in his true charac- 
ter. The patriarch refutes the reasoning, proves 

JOB. 151 

that the wicked often grow old and prosper, that 
apparently God treats the good and the bad alike 
in this life, and the dark doubts which the Psalmist 
felt (Ps. Ixxiii), haunt and harass his mind. With 
righteous indignation he flings from him the unworthy 
innuendos of the comforters and accuses them of 
intensifying his misery. After giving his wonderful 
confession of faith, xix:25~28, he points his argu- 
ment with these telling words: "But ye should 
say, Why persecute we him? seeing the root of the 
matter is in me. Be afraid of the sword." 

In the third round, chapters xxii-xxvi, the com- 
forters are turned into headlong accusers. Invec- 
tive now takes the place of calm reasoning; and 
Job instead of getting better grows worse, and even 
yearns to appear before the throne of God, declaring 
that if he could do so he would order his cause 
before him, and fill his mouth with arguments, 
xxiii:3, 4. "Job's disputing with God is as terrible 
as it is pitiable. It is terrible, because he uplifts 
himself, Titan-like, against God; and pitiable, 
because the God against whom he fights, is not the 
God he has known, but a phantom which his temp- 
tation has presented to his dim vision." 

3. The cause of the failure of the disputants. The 
mistake of the comforters was this: they insisted 
that God was dealing with Job retributive ly. 
They labored to convict him of high-handed wick- 
edness. They hint again and again that if all were 
told nothing would be too bad to impute to him. 
" Who ever perished being innocent, and when were 
the righteous cut off?" is the foundation of their 
reasoning. They totally failed to discover the true 
cause for his suffering. They applied many princi- 


pies of the moral government of God to the wrong 
case; and hence their argument only served to 
exasperate him. No wonder he reproached them 
for their cruelty, and in the bitterness of an insulted 
character and wounded spirit, covered them with 
scorn and contempt. Nor was Job less wrong. He 
insisted that God acted arbitrarily ; that having the 
power to do as He pleased with him, He did so. 
Because he was not guilty of any crime, of notorious 
sin, as the philosophers sought to make out, he 
infers that his affliction is without adequate grounds, 
that it is altogether disproportionate to his case, 
and therefore unjust and arbitrary. 

4. Job's second monologue, chapters xxvii-xxxi. It 
was now Zophar's turn to speak, but he is silent, 
and the others also hold their peace, virtually ad- 
mitting defeat. The great debate has ended with- 
out concluding anything. The mystery of the 
affliction of the godly remains unexplained. This 
second monologue is in many ways very remarka- 
ble. Its diction and imagery, its deep insight into 
man's powers and discoveries, its earnest piety 
coupled with its recognition of God's unfathom- 
ableness, its inimitable pathos, and its passionate 
appeals are unsurpassed in the whole field of litera- 
ture. The touching description of his misery as 
contrasted with his former happiness, the gloom 
that has settled down upon him, the exposure to 
shame and ignominy, the inward terrors, and unan- 
swered prayers how graphically it is all portrayed. 
And yet never once does he abate his claim to 
innocency. He clings as tenaciously as ever to his 
integrity. That he has been wrong he will not 
allow. He is a spotless person, according to his 

JOB. 153 

own account of himself, chapter xxix. In chapter 
xxxi:35, 36, he expresses the desire that the 
Almighty would answer him, draw up charges 
against him (such is the meaning of "adversary 
writing a book"); he would make answer. What 
language for a sinful mortal to 'use toward the 
infinite God! This is the secret of the book and the 
key to Job's trial. Let us not read it as if the aim 
were merely to prove the devil a liar, or to discuss 
the mysterious government of the world, or to vin- 
dicate God's wisdom and goodness, or to demon- 
strate Job's sincerity. All this is in it; but all this 
is not the main design. As God's dealing with him 
was personal, some personal reason or cause there 
must have been in the patriarch for it. A survey of 
his monologues and replies to his friends reveals 
the very important fact that he had not in any 
measure learned that in him, that is, in his flesh, 
there dwelt no good thing; that before God he had 
absolutely nothing to recommend him to the divine 
favor. And this truth is forcibly brought out by 
the addresses of Elihu. 

5. Elihu 's ministry, chapters xxxii-xxxvii. Who he 
was or where his home was is not definitely known. 
His name means "God is he," or "He is my God;" 
his father's name, Barachel, "God blesses." Obvi- 
ously the knowledge and fear of the Lord found a 
place in his family. He was present during the 
debate, but being a young man he modestly re- 
mained silent while his elders struggled with the 
deep question of God's providence and human suf- 
fering. In two terse sentences the whole preceding 
discussion is condensed: "Against Job was his 
writh kindled, because he justified himself rather 


than God. Also against his three friends was his 
wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, 
and yet had condemned Job," xxxii:2, 3. There it 
is in a nut-shell. If the friends cannot answer him, 
why should they condemn him? Moreover, Job's 
justification of himself is virtually God's condemna- 
tion. God's chastising hand was upon him in sore 
affliction, in order that the evil in him might be 
disclosed, judged, and put away, and his self-vindi- 
cation really meant the defeat of His gracious 
purpose, so far as he could defeat it. For to justify 
himself was to take his stand on the ground of law, 
or his own righteousness, and there condemnation 
must be his portion. 

Elihu pours a flood of light on the subject of 
afflictions. He shows why these are sent on the 
godly, and what they accomplish, xxxiii:!/, 30; 
xxxiv:3i, 32. In visiting suffering on His people 
God is not occupied with the penal side of their 
sins. Their afflictions are not judgments, but chas- 
tisements. The object of them is to keep back the 
soul of the saint from the pit, and to hide pride 
from him. Hence sufferings, instead of being an 
expression of His wrath, flow from divine tender- 
ness and love. The doctrine of Elihu is as distant 
as the poles from that of Eliphaz and his compan- 
ions. Job recognizes the truth of it, for it is self- 
evidencing, and is silent. Besides, he shows Job 
what false notions he entertained about himself. 
"I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; 
neither is there iniquity in me," xxxiii:g; cf. ix:2i; 
xii:4; xvin?. What language for a sinner to use 
with whom God was having some sort of con- 
troversy, and upon whom such awful sorrows had 

JOB. 155 

come! And yet Job adds: "Behold, he findeth 
occasions against me, He counteth me for his 
enemy," xxxiii:io. Now here is a palpable discrep- 
ancy. Could a holy and just God find fault with a 
pure and innocent man? Impossible. Either Job is 
self-deceived, or God is unrighteous. Elihu brings 
this out; then pronounces sentence: "Behold, in 
this thou art not just; I will answer thee, that God 
is greater than man." What a simple truth; and 
yet how appropriate to the case in hand. If God be 
greater than man, clearly he and not man must be 
the judge of what is right. 

6. The Lord's presence, chapters xxxviii-xlii. All 
Job's misconceptions of the divine character and 
government, all his rash criticisms on the Lord's 
ways, and all his fancied goodness vanish instantly 
before that majestic Presence. "Who is he that 
hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have 
I uttered that I understood not; things too wonder- 
ful for me which I knew not. I have heard of thee 
by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth 
thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in 
dust and ashes," xlii:3, 5, 6. What a thorough 
breakdown. Once Job wanted to be in His pres- 
ence that he might debate the question of his suffer- 
ing with Him. Now he is there, and this is the is- 
sue: profoundest humiliation and repentance. All 
egotism is gone, and pride is in the dust. The final 
end and aim of his sorrows are at length attained, 
and full blessing ensues. 

7. And now as a fitting close to the poem, Job 
becomes an intercessor for the three philosophers 
who had not spoken the right thing as the patriarch 
had done, xlii:8, 9. The friends also who appear to 


have stood aloof from him in the day of his calamity 
now gather about him with their gifts; and the Lord 
Himself doubles for His servant all that he had lost, 
save His children. And yet these are doubled 
likewise. Ten waited him on the other side, and 
ten were given here. Thus, the oldest book in the 
world teaches the doctrine of immortality. 

The ancient Version of the Seventy adds to the 
Hebrew closing of Job, these suggestive words 
(with others): "It is written that he will rise again 
with those whom the Lord raiseth." 


lit Luke xxiv:44 our Lord refers to what is written 
"in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and 
in the Psalms" concerning Himself. This is an 
authoritative division of the Old Testament. By 
the law of Moses is meant the Pentateuch, or Five- 
fold Book. The prophets include not only the 
prophetic writings, but also Joshua, Judges, the 
Samuels and Kings. The remaining books are the 
Holy Writings (Hagiographa), and receive the 
name of Psalms because this book stands, in the 
Hebrew Bible, at the head of the division. 

The Hebrew title to this precious Scripture is 
Praises, or the Book of Praises, a title which desig- 
nates the main object of the book, viz., The worship 
of God. Our word Psalms is the anglicized form of 
the Greek name for the book, a word which seems 
to involve the idea of instrumental accompaniment 
in the rendition of these inspired lyrics in the wor- 
ship of God. The early Christian fathers called it, 
The Psalter. 

The book of Psalms has evidently a peculiar char- 
acter. It is not the history of God's people, or of 
God's ways with them, nor is it the inculcation of 
positive doctrines or duties, nor the formal pro- 
phetic announcement of coming events. These are in 
the Psalms, it is true, but only in a subordinate way. 
History, prophecy, providence, doctrine and law are 


all here, but these form nothing more than the 
frame around which the Spirit of God has built the 
praise, prayer, and adoration of the Lord's people. 

"The first three Psalms are keys to the whole col- 
lection; the themes are the Scriptures, the Messiah, 
and the believer's experience." Worship, in its 
broadest application, is the central idea of the 
Psalter. Many of the Psalms, in whole or in part, 
are prayers intercessions for the psalmist himself 
and for those of a like precious faith with himself, 
for the Lord's cause in the earth, and for the reign 
of righteousness and peace. Many of them express 
deep and poignant sorrow for sin, and plead for 
pardon. Many of them are descriptive of the godly 
man, of his character, ways, afflictions, and deliver- 
ances. Others are didactic and predictive. And 
others pour forth the fervid praises of a glad and 
happy heart. But all of them are worship. They 
carry the worshiper directly into the divine pres- 
ence, and deal with all that is in him and belongs to 
him as before God. Of the book as a whole the 
following points may be noted: 

I. The Psalms are pre-eminently devotional. They 
exhale the very spirit of worship, they breathe the 
atmosphere of devotion. They magnify and praise 
the Lord, they ascribe to Him the majesty and 
glory which are due to Him alone. They exalt 
His attributes, His name, His word, His providence, 
and His presence in all the affairs of the world. 
All that comes into the life of the saint they refer 
to Him. The difficulties, perils, temptations, ene- 
mies, sorrows, joys, in short, all the vast experi- 
ences of God's people are brought into His pres- 
ence, are ascribed to Him. The Psalms, unlike the 

PSALMS. 159 

sentiments of most in our day, never stop short 
with second causes with the laws and forces of 
nature, as if everything here were tied up in the en- 
vironment, as men call it they go beyond these, to 
God Himself, and to that infinite Source who is 
present in all the works of His hands, they attribute 
whatever happens to the believer. The heart of the 
worshiper ever turns to Him. Very significant is 
the frequent exhortation to "lift up" the heart or 
the soul to God, an expression which still lingers 
in the Roman Catholic Missal sursum corda, "Up 
Heart" surviving amid the corruption and super- 
stition that there abound like the peak of a sub- 
merged world. Worship, the devotion of the heart, 
is a prominent feature of the Psalms. 

2. The Psalms are remarkably fruitful of experi- 
ence. It would almost seem as if the Spirit of God 
had gathered into these one hundred and fifty 
lyrics all the varied exercises of soul of which the 
redeemed have knowledge in the world. There is 
no state or exigency, no circumstance or set of 
circumstances of what nature soever, prosperous 
and adverse, bad and good, near and remote, but it 
may find a faithful expression in this inimitable 
book. Here is mirrored all that the saint desires 
and seeks, loves and hates. His hopes, fears, 
confidence, weaknesses, strength, triumph and fail- 
ure are here. Here, too, are his temptations and 
trials, his conflicts with foes both within and with- 
out, his defeats and his victories. In short, the life 
of the believer, with its intricate mazes, its vast 
alterations, is here laid bare. 

No doubt the human experiences recorded in the 
Psalms have a basis in the history of those who 


were their authors; but not all of them. There are 
not a few in which no human experience finds any 
counterpart. We must look to the Lord Jesus 
Christ to find any adequate expression for them. 
Nevertheless, most of those written by David sprang 
from his own personal experience, and this fact 
explains why his life should have had such a 
wonderful range. He was called to write, by the 
inspiration of the Spirit, songs that would go to the 
heart of universal man, and so his life ran up and 
down through the entire gamut of human emotions. 
It is the same, in degree, with the other Psalms not 
belonging to David. They are all the products of 
the inner life, "openings to the light of day from 
the strong hidden currents which have been flowing 

3. But there is much more. The Psalms are full 
of Christ. They speak of His humiliation and ex- 
altation, of His rejection by the world and of His 
final triumph over all opposition. But they go 
deeper, as we may say; deeper even than the gos- 
pels; they let us into His thoughts and feelings 
when the billows of wrath were rolling over Him, 
when the heavy cloud of judgment which was all 
our own burst upon His devoted head. Such 
particularly are the Twenty-second and the Sixty- 

4. Authors of the Psalms. At the head of the list, 
of course, stands David, the poet-king, and prophet, 
Acts ii:30. He was naturally most gifted, possessed 
in a very high degree that rarest of endowments, a 
poetic genius. Far beyond all this, he enjoyed the 
inspiration of the Spirit, 2 Sam. xxiii:2. Besides, 
David stood in a peculiar relation to God, was a 

PSALMS. 161 

man after His own heart, I Sam. xiii:i4. In the 
historical books of the Old Testament it is not easy 
to see how David's character comports with this re- 
markable testimony; but in the Psalms we put our 
ringer on the beating of his heart-pulse, and feel the 
very throbbings and movements of his soul. Pre- 
eminently he was the friend of God. Seventy-three 
are by David, fifty are anonymous, and it is thought 
by many that some of them were composed by him 
likewise. Moses is declared to be the author of the 
Ninetieth. All the internal evidences corroborate 
the heading. It is emphatically a wilderness and 
pilgrim song, a true " Psalm of Life." To Solomon 
two are ascribed, the Seventy-second and the One 
hundred and twenty-seventh. The latter is a tem- 
ple song; the former closes with "The prayers of 
David, the son of Jesse, are ended," words that 
seem to suggest a Davidic authorship. The mean- 
ing is, that, when the predictions of the Psalms are 
fulfilled, the grand objects for which David prayed 
will then be realized. Asaph, Jeduthun (or Ethan), 
and the sons of Korah were probably the authors of 
those which bear their names. 

5. The collection and arrangement of the Psalter. 
It is very generally believed that David arranged 
those existing at his time. We infer this from his 
careful ordering the service of song in the worship 
of the sanctuary, I Chron. xxv. Probably Ezra col- 
lected and arranged the book as we now have it. 
The principle by which he was guided was not that 
of chronology, or the respective ages of the various 
Psalms, but the " succession of thought," and the 
two great names of God, as we shall presently see. 

6. The inscriptions are worthy of note, though 


so ancient that their meaning was only partially 
known when the Septuagint version was made 
[nearly three centuries before Christ]; at least some 
of them are not translated. Michtam is a golden, 
maschil a didactic Psalm. Selah is thought by many 
to be a musical sign of some sort. If so, then Hab. 
iii was intended to be musically rendered, for it is 
found there. It is always connected with some 
striking passage, is a kind of index finger, as if 
saying, " Pause and consider." Jerome says that the 
words with which Selah stands are of eternal mo- 
ment. The significance of the other headings is 
only conjectural. Two translations of the Sept., 
however, are suggestive: Ps. xxii: "To the chief 
musician upon Aijeleth Shahar," i. e., "The hind 
of the morning;" an allusion to the plaint of the 
Messiah compassed about by baying dogs, like the 
hunted hind. Ps. Ivi: "The silent dove in far-off 
lands," in allusion perhaps to David's exile life. 

7. The book is divided into five parts, each divi- 
sion being marked by a doxology, The revision is 
a signal improvement on the authorized version of 
the Old Testament, for it faithfully represents these 
divisions. Some have seen in the Psalter the image 
of the Pentateuch. Delitzsch calls it "the congre- 
gation's five-fold word to the Lord, even as the 
Thorah [the Law] is the Lord's five-fold word to 
the congregation." The One hundred and fiftieth 
is the doxology of the fifth book, and of the entire 
collection. It begins with the noble word Hallelu- 
jah, and ends with it, and in every verse lying 
between, it is found. The Psalm has the same num- 
ber of verses as the first, but how different the two, 
and how much lies between them. Through struggle 


and conflict, defeat and victory, the people and 
cause of God have pressed on, and now at length 
His vast purposes find their fulfillment, and every- 
thing that hath breath is summoned to praise Him. 
It is the climax, the finale of all toward which He 
has been working and moving through the past ages 
and dispensations, and the goal is now reached; and 
so the magnificent shout of a redeemed creation is 

8. Variation of the divine names in the Psalms. 
Reference is made more particularly to the two 
great titles by which the Supreme Being is com- 
monly designated in the Old Testament, viz., Lord 
(Jehovah) and God (Elohim). The use of these 
two divine names in the Psalter is very noticeable 
and interesting. In book first, Ps. i-xli, Lord (or 
Jehovah) occurs about 277 times, and God (Elohim) 
only about forty-seven times. In book second, Ps. 
xlii-lxxii, the order is reversed, God being found 
some 194 times, and Lord only some twenty- 
seven times. Book Third, Ixxiii-lxxxix, employs 
them with approximate uniformity, or to speak a 
little more accurately, the book is made up of about 
fifty-seven Elohim (God) and forty-six Jehovah 
Psalms. The title of God is found much more fre- 
quently in the first half than in the last; and con- 
versely, Lord less in the first than in the last half, 
i. e.. Ps. Ixxiii-lxxxii have God about forty times, 
and Lord only about ten times; while in Ixxxiii- 
Ixxxix God occurs seventeen, and Lord thirty-three 
times. In the fourth and fifth books the name God 
recedes more and more, being found about forty- 
times, while Lord comes into remarkable promi- 
nence, occuring nearly 380 times. (Note: Ps. cviii 


is made up of two Psalms from the second book.) 
The Spirit uses these divine names, not at random 
as men so often do, but always with an intelligent pur- 
pose, whether we be able to discover His design or 
not. It is believed God is the wider title, the more 
general name, and designates Him as the Creator, 
Governor and Judge of all; Lord as the self-existent 
One who stands in covenant relationship with His 
people. In Gen. i it is God who creates; while it is 
Jehovah who makes the covenant with Abraham and 
with Israel. God refers to His natural attributes 
(His power, wisdom, etc.), whereas Jehovah (while 
not excluding the other) refers more especially 
to His moral attributes (holiness, mercy, etc.) 

Let it be carefully observed that the Psalms are 
arranged according to these great names of God, 
and not according to the dates of their composi- 
tion at all. Some of the oldest are toward the 
end of the collection, as that ascribed to Moses 
which is numbered as the QOth, and the I4$th is 
David's, while some that are supposed to have been 
written about the time of the Babylonian exile are 
nearly in the middle of the book. Chronology, 
therefore, had no place in the arrangement of the 
Psalms. The divine names are the key to their 
order. This appears from the $2d and 5ist, both of 
which relate to the sin of David. The 32d is in the 
first book and has the title, Lord, throughout, for it 
is the joy of forgiveness and restoration of divine 
favor which are there celebrated; whereas in the 
5 ist, where the awful crime is so touchingly con- 
fessed, the name is God exclusively, save in verse 
15, which has Lord (Adonai), Master. And yet in the 

PSALMS. 165 

order of time the 5ist takes the precedence, for 
pardon follows confession; but the 5ist is in the 
second book. Why are they placed thus? The ex- 
planation seems to be this: In the 5ist David 
recognizes that his sin has in reality interrupted the 
covenant relation he sustains to God, that it is a 
virtual breach of it, and hence he does not appeal 
to Jehovah, but to God, the Judge and Governor, 
who stands at a distance from the sinner, ready, as 
we may say, to hear his confession, judge his sin, 
and restore him to favor; but in the 32d he joyfully 
reclaims the covenant relation, re-enters into com- 
munion with his Redeemer, and hence Jehovah is 
the great title of his address. 

The Psalter gives evidence of what we may call 
structural inspiration. It is firmly believed that 
none other but the Spirit of God arranged these 
Psalms as we now have them; and that there is a 
profound meaning in their order. The whole book 
is a sort of mirror of God's ways with His people, 
and with the world. In the first book Israel is in 
the covenant relation with God, and therefore the 
covenant name, Jehovah, is prominent; in the sec- 
ond, the people have fallen from their first love, 
have gone into apostacy and unbelief, and God 
takes the pre-eminence, God, the Judge and the 
Governor; in the third, they are viewed as returning 
to their allegiance, under the loving and faithful 
dealing of God, as He is revealed to them in the 
double name of God and Lord; while in the remain- 
ing books, Israel, according to all the prophets and 
Paul in the nth of the Romans, is brought again 
and finally into full favor and fellowship, and all the 
earth rejoices in the fullness of redemption, and the 


great Hallelujah Chorus is sung. Like some majes 
tic oratorio, some sublime symphony, is this book 
of Psalms, with the theme sometimes receding, 
then again advancing, now in the minor, then in the 
major, and anon in the chromatic scales, struggling 
through difficulties, triumphing over obstacles, 
steadily moving forward to the climax when all the 
voices and all the instruments, the parts and the 
chorus unite and combine in the final and over- 
whelming Hallelujah. One can hardly doubt but 
that the close of the Psalter celebrates the glorious 
time when the voices of angels, redeemed men, and 
every creature in heaven and on earth and under the 
earth, and such as are in the sea, will join in the 
thrilling anthem, " Blessing, and honor, and glory, 
and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, 
and unto the Lamb for ever and ever, Amen" Hal- 
lelujah, Rev. v, 11-14. The book of Psalms, it is 
firmly believed, is prophetic. The Spirit of God 
has ordered these His songs in the way He has, 
that the believer might here, as in so much else of 
Holy Scripture, have the assurance of the blessed 
outcome of God's ways with the world. 

But there is progress in the book likewise. The 
first and second books give us David's experience, 
and God's dealings with him. But we do not stop 
with doctrine and discipline as an ultimate attain- 
ment. And so the other books go on, rising higher 
and higher until they culminate in the exultant 
burst of jubilant praise of the Hallelujah Psalms at 
the close. 

The Songs of Degrees, or Ascents, Ps. cxx-cxxxiv, 
were probably sung by the caravan pilgrims as they 
went up from various sections of the country to 

PSALMS. 167 

keep the annual feasts at Jerusalem. How appro- 
priate they are for such devout companies is appar- 
ent to every attentive reader. No doubt it was with 
thanksgiving and joy that the travelers sang, " I was 
glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the 
house of the Lord," cxxii. As the hills of Judea 
arose before them with equal gladness they sang, 
" I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence 
cometh my help," cxxi. The safety and stability of 
those who trust in the Lord found expression in the 
noble words of Ps. cxxv. It adds a charming feat- 
ure to these fifteen Psalms when we think of them 
as the songs of God's wandering people. It is no 
spiritualizing process which declares that these also 
are our pilgrim Psalms, our mighty and inspired 
road songs. 

There are several acrostic Psalms, or better, "A 
B C Psalms," as the Latin fathers named them 
(Psalmi abecedari). The most notable is the one 
hundred and nineteenth, each verse of which in the 
entire twenty-two parts begins with its own acrostic 

9. The imprecatory Psalms. Besides isolated and 
minor passages which occur throughout the book, 
there are at least three, viz., xxxv, Ixix, cix, which 
invoke the most awful judgments upon the heads of 
enemies. They seem to breathe the very spirit of 
hatred and revenge. The believing heart of many 
is staggered by the fierce wrath and indignation 
which these Psalms display. Let us calmly study 
them, and learn what we may of their import. 

(i) We are to offer no apology for these and the 
like Scriptures. If we believe in the plenary inspira- 
tion of the Bible, we are to hold firmly to the 


truth that these Psalms, terrible as they may be to 
us who see so little of the real nature of sin and its 
heinousness and of God's unalterable purpose to 
punish it forever, are the expression of the mind of 
the Spirit concerning evil and persistent, incorrigible 
evil doers. Nor should it be forgotten that the Lord 
Jesus Himself, that meek and lowly One, employed 
as appalling language about the wicked as is found 
in the Psalter, Matt, xxiii, 13-36; Mar. ix, 42-49, etc. 
Men who charge the writers of the Psalms in ques- 
tion with bloody-mindedness bring the same accusa- 
tion against the Son of God. 

(2) The imprecatory Psalms with few exceptions 
are ascribed to David. That king was as devoid of 
vindictiveness as any public character that can well 
be named. His noble conduct toward Saul, the 
meekness with which he bore the bitter reproaches 
of Shimei, his gentleness and humility, remove him 
far enough from the charge of bloodthirstiness, and 
the lust of vengeance. Compare him with the rulers 
of so-called Christian nations, since the reformation 
the kings of Germany, the Charleses of England 
to say nothing of those of Austria, Spain, France, 
Russia all Christian at least in name, and it will be 
seen that not one of them stands higher than David 
in the qualities of mercy and justice; nay, most of 
them fall far below him. When David's whole 
career is intelligently and fairly reviewed, it leaves 
on the mind the impression of a man who possessed 
as meek and placable a temper as any monarch of 
history. The imprecatory Psalms he wrote are ex- 
traordinary, and out of his common way of acting 
and feeling. 

(3) These are not the utterances of resentment 

PSALMS. 169 

for private injuries, or of a desire to see personal 
enemies laid low. The inspired writer speaks in a 
public character, as the anointed king of Israel, the 
chosen servant of the Lord. It is for the vindication 
of the cause he represents, the cause of God and of 
righteousness, he asks. 

(4) These Psalms are associated with the Lord 
Jesus Christ. Peter quotes the one hundred and 
ninth and applies it directly to Judas Iscariot and 
his betrayal of Jesus, Acts i, 20. Five times the six- 
ty-ninth is quoted in the New Testament, besides 
being often alluded to, Jno. ii, 17; xv, 25; xix, 28, 30; 
Rom. xi, 9; xv, 3. The circumstances in which they 
are quoted are as remarkable as the quotations them- 
selves. In the guest chamber Jesus cited Ixix, 4: 
" They hated me without a cause," and He repre- 
sents it as a prediction of the people's hatred of the 
Father and Himself, Jno. xv, 25. When He drove 
the hucksters from the temple the disciples remem- 
bered it is written, " The zeal of thy house hath eaten 
me up," Ps. Ixix, 9; and the words reveal His mind 
at the time. 

(5) They express Christ's righteous indignation 
against the malice and enmity of incorrigible and 
impenitent sinners; and His determination to visit 
condign punishment upon them. In these and sim- 
ilar Scriptures the Lord asks that justice, rigorous 
and inflexible, be done on His foes; and God's just- 
ice, when executed as He only can, is approved by 
all right minded beings. 

(6) It is believed that what Jesus encountered at 
the hands of His implacable foes during His early 
life, and especially at its close, will be repeated in 
some measure in the world's crisis. Judas will have 


his counterpart and far more in the man of sin; the 
mocking rabble of Jerusalem will have theirs in the 
mad outburst of godlessness when the world, led on 
by Satan and deceived by a lie, shall wheel into line 
and march to battle against the Lord God and 
His Christ; and then these " cursing Psalms," and 
the awful predictions of Isaiah, Daniel, Jesus, Paul, 
and John shall have their final and complete fulfill 

10. Christ in the Psalms. That Christ is in the 
book is universally admitted. All students recog- 
nize it. There may be difference of opinion as to 
the Messianic character of some, and as to the sense 
of particular passages, but the broad fact is incon 
trovertible. But how is He here presented? Almost 
as fully as in the New Testament. 

He is revealed as the Prophet. In Ps. xxii, 22 He 
says, " I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in 
the midst of the congregation will I praise thee." 
These words are quoted in Heb. ii, 12, as proof that 
Christ is not ashamed to call His people His breth 
ren. It may be also that He had these words in 
mind when, in the intercessory prayer, he said, " I 
have declared thy name unto them, and will declare 
it," Jno. xvii, 26 a compendium of all that He 
taught His disciples, and of all He continues to 
teach them; for His one supreme work was and is, 
to reveal the Father to His people, and to bring 
them into His glorious presence, Heb. ii, 13. Ps. xl. 
9, 10, exhibits Him as preaching, and the theme of 
the great Preacher is, righteousness, faithfulness, 
salvation, lovingkindness, and truth; and these all 
as of God, for before each of the words on which He 
discourses stands "thy." In the New Testament 
He reveals " The righteousness of God by faith." So 

PSALMS. 171 

likewise He is the Prophet in Ps. xlv; Ixxxix; cxix; 
cii, etc. 

His priestly office is made very prominent. In Ps. xl, 
6, 8 we have the object of His mission announced, 
and the perfection of His work as contrasted with 
the inefficiency of the Levitical sacrifices. In Ps. 
xxii and Ixix the intensity and awfulness of His suf- 
ferings as Priest and Victim are depicted with graphic 
power. A remarkable feature in these two Psalms 
is that the language is that of history, the past tense, 
such as He uses in His prayer in John xvii, as if all 
were an accomplished fact, a consummated thing. 
The human experience of the writer has little or 
nothing to do with the indescribable anguish of 
these Psalms, for suffering in them passes into a 
region where no mere mortal ever enters. In Geth- 
semane and at the cross alone is the fulfillment to 
be seen. The twenty-second ends with the striking 
words, " They shall come and declare His righteous- 
ness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath 
done this." He hath done it, is translated by Him 
into " It is finished," as Hengstenberg has shown. 
It is noteworthy that the word priest in the singular 
occurs but once in the Psalter. In Ps. ex is found this 
unexpected verse (i. e., so abruptly is it introduced), 
"The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art 
a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." 
The King is also the Priest whose office is everlast- 
ing, all succession being cut off. The divinely insti- 
tuted Aaronic priesthood is passed by, and a still 
more ancient order that has lain dormant for a thou- 
sand years, is revived and perpetuated in this new 
Priest-king. The doctrine of the oath of God as to 
Christ the King and Priest is fully drawn out in 


Heb. vii. The sixteenth declares the Messiah's 
death and resurrection, which Peter on the day of 
Pentecost uses with wonderful power. The sixty- 
eighth tells of His ascension and its results, cf Eph. 
iv, 8-12; Acts ii, 30-34. 

His kingly office is celebrated i?t very many, e. g., ii, 
xxi, xlv, Ixxii, etc. The King and His kingdom in 
these and the like Psalms is infinitely more glorious 
and mighty than that of David or Solomon, than of 
any and all the kings of earth. In exact accordance 
with the teaching of the New Testament the Psalms 
ground Christ's kingdom upon His perfect sacrifice, 
as the second, one hundred and tenth, and others 
clearly show. In fact, all through the Psalter there is 
a constant blending of Messiah's offices in the same 
Psalm, e. g., in the twenty-second He is Prophet and 
Priest, in the one hundred and tenth King and Priest, 
etc. His offices are interdependent and inhere in the 
one person of the Mediator; and this great fact proves 
incontrovertibly that the Messianic Psalms cannot ap- 
ply to any human king like David, or Hezekiah, or 
Josiah; to any priest like Aaron, or Hilkiah; to any 
prophet like Moses, or Elijah; for no one of them, 
good and great men as they were, ever combined all 
these offices in his own person. They find their per- 
fection only in Him who was the Prophet greater 
than Jonah, who was the King greater than Solomon, 
who was the Priest greater than Aaron and Mel- 

His sufferings are delineated minutely. We are 
taught in the Psalms that He suffered from three 
sources. First, He suffered from God. This solemn 
truth is brought out vividly in the twenty-second. 
The very words He uttered on the cross are here 

PSALMS. 173 

found, made ready to His hand. He ascribes His 
exceeding sorrow to God, and to His treatment of 
Him as the surety and substitute of His people. 
Atonement is unquestionably taught in this book. 
Second, He suffered from the hand of man, i. e., for 
righteousness' sake. His patience, humility, benev- 
olence, love, and piety call out the fiercest enmity of 
wicked men and of Satan against Him. This side 
of our Lord's sufferings is most fully dwelt on. 
With amazing force and accuracy the rage and fury 
of His foes are depicted. They rush upon Him 
open-mouthed, like ferocious beasts. They roar 
about Him, like savage bulls of Bashan. He stands 
in the midst of them as though surrounded by bay- 
ing dogs He innocent and guileless, like the hunted 
hind They stand staring and gaping upon Him: 

" But I a worm, as no man prized, 
Reproached of men, by all despised; 
All shake the head, they mock and gaze, 
Each scornful lip contempt betrays." 

His sorrowful plaint in the sixty-ninth is that 
every delicacy of feeling is violated by His pitiless 
enemies. Shame covers His face, reproach breaks 
His heart. He is the song of the drunkards as they 
reel through the streets. He is an alien to His 
mother's children (a proof that Mary had other 
children after the birth of her Son, Ixix, 8). 
Wretched men dared to spit in His face. And He 
is all alone in His suffering, with none to pity or to 
help. Third, He suffered in sympathy with His 
people. He so entirely identified Himself with them 
that He became a partaker with them in their 
afflictions and distresses. The " godly man," " the 
upright man," the " afflicted man" of the Psalter is 


ultimately none other than the Son of man who in 
wondrous sympathy makes the sorrows of believers 
His own, who shares with them all their human ex- 
periences except personal sin. If they are in trouble 
He enters into it with them; if floods are rolling over 
them, He likewise is in deep waters. Indeed, we 
cannot understand much of this profound book un- 
less we see that Christ is intimately associated with 
His people in all that befalls them. (See the proof, 
if proof be needed, Heb. ii, 12, 13, where He sings 
praise like the brethren, and trusts like the brethren 
His brethren.) 

His second coming is foretold, 1, xcvii, xcviii, etc. 
The Psalms, like all other Scriptures, are full of 
Christ. They speak of His person, offices, suffer- 
ings; of His death, resurrection, ascension, and com- 
ing again; they set forth the glory of His kingdom 
when He shall take to Himself His great power and 
reign in millennial bliss over all the earth. 

ii. The Doctrine of Sin in the Psalter. The law was 
the revelation of God's mind as to sin. The Psalms 
are the response of God's people to His declarations 
on the subject. And the fulness of their teaching 
on the terrific topic appears: (i) In the copious- 
ness of the vocabulary employed to describe it; as 
evil, iniquity, wickedness, sin in the abstract, or as a 
principle; then as manifesting itself in outward acts, 
as trespass, transgression, disobedience, wrongs, faults, 
etc. (2) In the recognition of natural depravity. 
Original sin is certainly acknowledged. The taint of 
sin is born with us. It is not a thing contracted by 
example or contact with men; its presence in us and 
with us antedates our birth. (3) In the confession 
of sin, so full, so intense, so hot burning and choked 

PSALMS. 175 

with sobs. (4) In its pardon, God exhausts even 
His vocabulary in revealing His pardoning mercy in 
the book. He forgives sin, sins, iniquities, trans- 
gressions, trespasses; He blots them out, puts them 
away, covers them over, hides them. That is, the 
pardon extends to the utmost limit of the being, 
nature, activities, and pollution of sin. Luther named 
Ps. xxxii, li, cxxx, cxliii, Psalmi Paulini Pauline 
Psalms; for they contain the doctrine of Paul as to 
justification, repentance, and pardon. 

12. Recognition of the Word f God in the Psalms. 
This is another prominent feature of the book. 
According to Ps. i, 2, the "blessed man" is one 
who among other things makes the law of the 
Lord his delight and his study night and day. It is 
no rnsignificant mark of genuine piety. He who has 
no desire nor relish for food is sick. In Ps. xix, 
7-9, we have " six descriptive titles of the word, six 
characteristic qualities mentioned, and six divine 
effects declared;" while in verses ten, eleven, the 
Holy Spirit gives His estimate of the value of the 
Word, and the believer's use of it. Ps. cxix twen- 
ty-two alliterative poems, with eight verses in each, 
the first word in every line beginning with the same 
letter, celebrates in a very wonderful manner the 
Word of God. In every verse but one (122) the 
Scriptures are mentioned by some of their many 
titles; hence there is ground for this inscription of 
a certain version, " The Christian's golden ABC of 
the praise, love, power, and use of the Word of 
God." In cxxxviii, 2, we have God's exaltation of 
His Word above all His name. 

13. The doctrine of the future life is prominent in 
tht book. It is enough to refer the reader to the 


following: i; xvi, 8-1 1 ; xvii, 15; xxiii; xxxi, 5; xxxiv, 
22; 1, 1-6, etc. 

14. The Psalms' place in sufferings of the saints. 
What a story they could tell if we could but 
hear it from sick beds, from dungeons, scaffolds, 
stakes, lonely mountains and bleak moors, from ex- 
iles and martyrs, from the fields of battles and the 
valley of the shadow of death! " What a record that 
would be, if one could write it down all the spir- 
itual experiences, the disclosures of the heart, the 
comforts and the conflicts which men in the 
course of ages have connected with the words of the 
Psalms. What a history, if we could discover the 
place the book has occupied in the inner life of the 
heroes of the kingdom of God!" (Tholuck.) 

It may prove helpful to some if a few incidents of 
Christian history be given in which the book was the 
stay and comfort of God's afflicted people. From 
various sources these now recorded have been gath- 
ered, but mainly from Dr. Ker's little volume, " The 
Psalms in History and Biography." 

Ps. ii, 10, II, was the remonstrance addressed to 
Henry VIII. of England by John Lambert, who was 
burned at Smithfield in 1538. His martyrdom was 
one of the most cruel of that time, and yet his faith 
was most triumphant, as he lifted his fingers flaming 
with fire, saying, " None but Christ, none but Christ." 

Ps. iv, 6, " Lord, lift up the light of thy coun- 
tenance upon me," was quoted by James Melville 
when he was dying, for his comfort, as likewise, 
xxiii, 4; xxvii, I. "The candle being behind back, 
he desired that it should be brought before him, that 
he might see to die. By occasion thereof, he re- 
membered that Scripture, Ps. xviii, 28, ' The Lord 

PSALMS. 177 

will lighten my candle; He will enlighten my dark- 
ness.'" A woman of our own times, wife of Thomas 
Carlyle, thus wrote in her journal: "Sleep has come 
to look to me the highest virtue and the greatest 
happiness; that is, good sleep, untroubled, beautiful, 
like a child's. Ah, me! have mercy upon me, O 
Lord; for I am weak. O Lord, heal me; for my bones 
are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed; but thou, O 
Lord, how long?" vi, 2, 3. Not a few know the 
sweetness of iv, 8; cxxvii, 2, " So He giveth His be- 
loved sleep," when insomnia torments and terrifies 

Psalm twenty-three fills a very large place in the 
history of God's children. " It has sung courage to 
the army of the disappointed. It has poured balm 
and consolation into the hearts of the sick, of cap- 
tives in dungeons, of widows in their pinching griefs, 
of orphans in their loneliness. Dying soldiers have 
died easier as it was read to them; ghastly hospitals 
have been illuminated; it has visited the prisoner, and 
broken his chains, and, like Peter's angel, led him 
forth in imagination, and sung him back to his home 
again. It has made the dying Christian slave freer 
than his master." John Welsh, son-in-law of John 
Knox, sung it at two in the morning when banished 
from Scotland, and with other ministers of the re- 
formed faith and a large concourse of people sing- 
ing and praying with them, set sail for France. 
Welsh's wife besought the king for her husband,and 
was offered his liberty on condition of his preaching 
and teaching no more. The brave daughter of Knox 
lifted her apron with her hands and said, " I would 
rather receive his head here, than his liberty at such 
a price." Two young women, Marion Harvey and 


Isabel Alison, on their way to the scaffold for the 
honor and name of Jesus, were annoyed by the 
priests who wished to thrust their prayers on them, 
and the one said to the other, " Come, Isabel, let us 
sing the Twenty-third Psalm," which they did; and 
she then said, " I am come here today for avowing 
Christ to be Head of His church, and King in Zion. 

seek Him, sirs, seek Him, and ye shall find Him." 
Her companion said on the scaffold, " Farewell, all 
created comforts; farewell, sweet Bible in which I de- 
lighted most, and which has been sweet to me since 

1 came to prison; farewell, Christian acquaintances; 
now into thy hands I commit my spirit, Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost." Whereupon the hangman threw 
her over. 

When Edward Irving lay dying he murmured 
again and again in Hebrew, " The Lord my Shep- 
herd." So, too, when James Inglis was on his death- 
bed this Twenty-third Psalm was read to him, and 
the dying saint said, " You will understand me as 
not speaking boastfully of myself when I say that 
every word you have read is personal to me, per- 
sonal to my faith, personal to my soul. And now I 
will rest, and afterward we will talk of His mer- 

Within the last few days a devoted young woman, 
recently graduated from college and a teacher in the 
public schools, was fast nearing the end. Her rela' 
tives and a few friends stood round her bed, when 
she said, " Sing the Twenty-third Psalm." With 
choking voices they began, and the dying girl joined 
with them, but had strength to sing but a few words 
when her voice failed. She said soon after, " I can 
not see you well; but [looking upward] I see Jesus, 

PSALMS. 179 

and many, O so many who have gone before." And 
with the word glory, she went away. 

Psalm xxxi, 5, holds an extraordinary place among 
dying believers "Into thy hands I commit my 
spirit" the words rise from saint after saint. They 
were the last spoken by the Lord Jesus on the cross, 
Lu. xxiii, 46; the last of Stephen, Acts vii, 59; of 
Polycarp, Basil, St. Louis, Columbus, and of the poor 
Italian prisoner of our own times, Silvio Pellico. On 
the 6th of July, 1415, John Huss of Bohemia was 
burned to death in a field near the ancient city of 
Constance, his safe conduct being violated by the 
Emperor Sigismund for which the pope gave absolu- 
tion. A brass tablet marks the spot where Huss 
stood. While seven bishops removed his priestly 
dress piece by piece, and placed on his head a paper 
crown painted with demons, they addressed him, 
"We deliver thy soul unto Satan." " But I," he said, 
" commend it into thy hands, Lord Jesus Christ, 
who hast redeemed me." One hundred and thir- 
ty-one years after, Luther died (1546). Among 
his last words were these: " I pray thee, O 
Lord Jesus Christ, to take my soul into thy 
keeping." Then he said thrice, " Father, into thy 
hands I commend my spirit, thou hast redeemed me, 
Lord God of truth." Twenty-six years after (1572), 
John Knox died, saying, " Now, for the last time, I 
commend my spirit, soul and body," touching three 
of his fingers, " into thy hand, O Lord." Nearly a 
century after this, Hugh M'Kail, the gifted martyr 
of Scotland, took hold of the ladder to go up to his 
death, having sung these same words, saying as he 
went up, " I care no more to go up this ladder, and 
over it, than if I were going to my father's house." 


He called to his friends and fellow sufferers below, 
" Be not afraid. Every step of this ladder is a de- 
gree nearer heaven." 

In the reign of Queen Mary (1554), William Hun- 
ter, nineteen years of age, was brought to the stake 
for the gospel, and recited the Eighty-fourth Psalm 
while being bound. When the fire was kindled, he 
cast his Psalter into his brother's hand who said, 
"William, think of the holy passion of Christ, and 
be not afraid." And William answered, " I am not 
afraid." Then, lifting up his hands to heaven, 
he cried, "Lord, Lord, Lord, receive my spirit." 

Jerome Savonarola and his brother monks chanted 
the sixty-eighth as they marched into the Piazza of 
Florence to meet the trial of fire (1498). He spent 
the brief respite allowed him before his execution in 
meditating on the fifty-first, the sorrowful Miserere. 
" O Lord, a thousand times thou hast cancelled my 
iniquities, and a thousand times I have fallen, but 
thou wilt yet have me secure. I will hope, there- 
fore, in the Lord, and speedily be delivered from 
every trouble. By whose merits? Mine? Never, but 
by thine, O Lord." Luther afterward translated Sav- 
onarola's meditation with these memorable words af- 
fixed: "Although somewhat of scholastic mud didstill 
cleave to the feet of this good man, he nevertheless 
upheld justification by faith without the works of the 
law,and was in consequence burned by the pope. But, 
lo, he lives in blessedness, and Christ by my means 
now canonizes and crowns him, even though the 
pope and the papists should burst with rage." 

In the autumn of 1689 a band of eight hundred 
Waldenses who had been banished from North Italy 
into Switzerland returned to their valleys, crossing 

PSALMS. 181 

the Alps not far from the tracks pursued by Hanni- 
bal and Napoleon. They were led by their hero- 
minister, Henri Arnaud; and, after incredible perils 
and sufferings, they re-entered their old homes, sing- 
ing the seventy-fourth and one hundred and twen- 
ty-ninth Psalms. 

David Livingstone read the one hundred and 
twenty-first and one hundred and thirty- fifth, and 
prayed with his old father and sister, as he set out 
from his Scottish home for Africa; and his mother- 
in-law, Mrs. Moffat, wrote him at Linyanti, on the 
threshold of his perilous journey, that the ninety-first 
and one hundred and thirty-first Psalms were con- 
stantly with her as she thought of and prayed for 

" No book which is without the assurance of im- 
mortality could have cheated so many dying saints 
and deceived so many generations of mourners. 
There is not a pall of darkness over the Psalms; no 
odor of the charnel-house exhales from them. The 
hopes of eternity trickle like drops of light from the 
pens of their writers. They come to us like the 
breath of violets in a letter which reaches us from a 
land of sunshine. The Easter bells are always ring- 
ing in the Psalter." 


The authorship of this book is announced in the 
preface, " The proverbs of Solomon, the son of 
David, king of Israel," i, I. It is the first book of the 
Bible to name the author at the beginning. Solomon 
lived long before the sages of Greece, five hundred 
years before the "seven wise men," and seven hun- 
dred before Socrates and Aristotle. There is little 
foundation for the Rabbinical tradition that some of 
the Grecian writers borrowed largely from Solo- 
mon, and certainly there is less for the notion that 
the book borrowed from them. He was peculiarly 
qualified, apart from the inspiration of the Holy 
Spirit, to write such books as are ascribed to him in 
the Bible, viz.: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song; 
for he possessed in an extraordinary degree a re- 
markable comprehensiveness of mind. " Wisdom 
and understanding exceeding much, and largeness 
of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore," 
is the description in I Kings iv, 29. He was a philos- 
opher, a poet, a botanist, zoologist, architect, as well 
as king, i Kings iv, 32-34. His mental grasp is per- 
haps more clearly seen in his character as moralist 
than in any other aspect. Yet he had very unusual 
powers of analysis and classification. To Solomon 
belonged the rare distinction of possessing that 
subtle, piercing intuitiveness of mind which sees at 
a glance what others less gifted reach only by la- 


borious processes of reasoning. To have this seeing 
faculty in its fullness is to have the loftiest human 
endowment; and it was bestowed upon him in the 
highest degree. His analytical power is exhibited 
in his thorough acquaintance with and description of 
human character. In all its phases and manifesta- 
tions; in its fullness and poverty, its strength and 
weakness, he is familiar with it. He sees the springs 
of all action; he understands the motives and pas- 
sions and propensities which sway men and which 
make them what they are. Nor is his acquaintance 
with human character confined to any one class, as 
for example, the ruling class with which he was per- 
sonally identified. He knows by an inspired intui- 
tion universal man; the peasant equally well with 
the monarch, the philosopher as well as the simpleton. 
With swift and unerring hand he labels each man 
according to the character he has discovered in him, 
and instantly sets him in his proper place. Like the 
other inspired writers, Solomon knows but two 
classes among men: the righteous and the wicked, 
or, as he generally designates them, the wise and the 
fools. He no sooner fastens his gaze on a fellow 
mortal than he determines, by the prevailing temper 
he has detected in him, to which company he be- 
longs, and he fixes his standing accordingly. 

" Wisdom " is the key-word, and i, 7, the key-verse 
of the book. 

I. The proverb:" A master sentence," " maxim 
or brief sententious saying," "enigmatical utter- 
ance," etc. Such are some of the more common 
definitions of a proverb. That given by an English 
statesman is full of significance" The wisdom of 
many and the wit of one." Proverbs are very abun 


dant among all peoples. Many of them, although 
they sound new to us and wonderfully apposite, 
have descended from the remotest antiquity. Some 
are worthless, many are wicked, but generally prov- 
erbs are the product of the wisdom and experience 
of the ages. Those of this book are not only true, 
but given us by the unerring Spirit of God, and of 
course must be rilled with the best instruction. The 
proverb of the Bible follows the general rule of He- 
brew poetry. It presents a great truth by a very apt 
comparison, or by a sharp and striking contrast. A 
parable is truth set forth in a lengthened similitude 
or narrative; a proverb is truth in the form of a sen- 
tentious aphorism, a concentrated, pithy and preg- 
nant saying. 

2. The design of this book is quite clearly indi- 
cated in i, 2-4: " To know wisdom and instruction; 
to perceive the words of understanding; to receive 
the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment and 
equity; to give subtilty to the simple, to the young 
man knowledge and discretion." A noble aim, 
worthy of the Spirit of God. Its main object is to 
instruct the believer in the things of God; to furnish 
him with those mighty and enduring principles ac- 
cording to which he is to order his life so as to 
escape the perils of the wicked, and establish his 
way in righteousness and peace. Dr. Arnot's title 
for the book is a good description of its chief de- 
sign: "Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth." It is 
the application of that wisdom which created the 
heavens and the earth to the details of life in this 
world of confusion and evil. We have in it the ways 
of God, the divine path for human conduct, and the 
discernment of what the world is. It has to do with 

PHOVKliBS. 185 

God's government of the world, and with our own 
happiness here, if we maintain our earthly relation- 
ships according to God. It keeps turning a power- 
ful light on the dark and dangerous places; it un- 
folds that deep law which applies so universally, 
"Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap;" 
it points out with marvelous clearness that a false 
step may lead to bitter consequences; and it con- 
trasts false ways with right, the path of life with the 
path of death. 

3. Analysis of the book. It naturally falls into 
two great sections: (i) Chaps, i-ix, which give the 
general principles in broad outlines; (2) chaps, x- 
xxxi, Proverbs proper. 

A more particular and exhaustive division would 
arrange the contents of the book into five parts, as 

(1) Chaps, i-ix, in which are contained wise and 
fatherly exhortations addressed mainly to the young, 
together with a masterly description of wisdom. 
The thought in this section is more consecutive than 
in Proverbs proper. 

(2) Chaps, x-xxii, 16. Moral aphorisms, or mas- 
ter sentences, bearing on practical life. 

(3) Chaps, xxii, 17; xxiv, in which the method of 
more or less connected thought is resumed, as in the 
first section. 

(4) Chaps, xxv-xxix. The proverbs of this part are 
said to be those of Solomon " which the men of 
Hezekiah, king of Judah, copied out." It is difficult 
to determine precisely what this statement means. 
It hardly warrants us in affirming a different author- 
ship for this section. The sayings are attributed to 
Solomon; it is only said that these men "copied 


out," arranged and compiled them. The memory of 
these learned men of Hezekiah's court is perpetu- 
ated in Jewish tradition. In the Talmud they are 
called a "society," or " academy," and it is declared 
that " Hezekiah and his academy wrote Isaiah, 
Proverbs, the Song, and Ecclesiastes," which can 
only mean that they compiled and arranged them. 
Perhaps the true explanation is, that the proverbs of 
this section had been transmitted orally from Solo- 
mon to the time of Hezekiah, and that the work of 
Hezekiah's men was that of collecting and editing 
them in this permanent form. This view seems to 
be confirmed by the fact that many of the proverbs 
of these chapters are repetitions, with slight varia- 
tions, of some which occur in the preceding section. 
(5) Chaps, xxx, xxxi, which may be considered as a 
sort of an appendix to the whole book, and of which 
the authorship is a problem that cannot be solved. 
The thirtieth is ascribed to Agur the son of Jakeh. 
Who he was it seems next to impossible to determine. 
The word " prophecy" with which the chapter be- 
gins, or oracle, as the revision translates it, points to 
a higher character, if we may so say, than other por- 
tions of the book. Verses 4, 19, 24-28, 30, 31, remind 
one of Job, while the oft recurring "three" and 
" four" recall Amos. The chapter is addressed to 
Ithiel and Ucal. Who they were, or whether these 
are proper names or symbolical titles, is not known. 
So also the "King Lemuel" of the thirty-first is sup- 
posed by the older students of the book to be an- 
other name for Solomon, and by later ones as sym- 
bolical. From beginning to end, there is but one 
subject, the delineation of a perfect wife. Trapp is 
of the opinion that Lemuel is Solomon, and his 


mother, Bath-sheba, was the author of this surpass- 
ingly fine description of the perfect wife. 
4. Principal topics of Proverbs. 

(1) Wisdom, viii. Clearly something more than 
an attribute is meant by the Wisdom of this chapter. 
We might conceive God's wisdom personified using 
the language of vs. 22, but when we proceed to vss. 
23-31, nay, even to the end of the chapter, we are ir- 
resistibly led to think, not of a poetic personifica- 
tion, but of the personal God Himself, in His awful 
majesty and holiness. There is a remarkable 
similarity between wisdom as described here, and 
Christ as He is set before us in the New Testament. 
It is quite surprising how the parallel between them 
can be exactly traced. Wisdom is represented as 
dwelling with God from eternity; so also is Christ, 
Jno. i, I, 2. Wisdom is before all things, so also is 
Christ, Col. i, 17. Wisdom is the eldest child of 
God; Christ is the first-born of the whole creation, 
Col. i, 15, the only Begotten of the Father, Jno. i, 14. 
Indeed, the parallel may be followed out to the 
greatest length and with the utmost minutia. It can 
not be reasonably doubted, therefore, that the Wis- 
dom of Solomon is identical with the Lord Jesus of 
later Scripture; and by this title and portraiture 
Solomon adumbrated the God-man Messiah. 

(2) Filial piety. In the law given at Sinai, the 
obligation to honor parents was placed first after 
duties to God. It underlay all morality in Israel. It 
underlies all morality still. As might be expected, 
this subject occupies a prominent place in Proverbs; 
e. g., i, 8, 9; vi, 20, 21 ; xiii, i; xv, 20; xix, 26; xxx, 
17, etc. 

(3) Bad company. The warnings in respect to 


this are very urgent and solemn, for they are of im- 
measurable importance: i, 10-19; iv, 14-19; xiii, 20; 
xxiv, I, 2; xxix, 24. 

(4) Licentiousness. Soiomon calls the harlot " the 
strange woman," a title which reminds one of " the 
strange gods" which the prophets so often and so 
fiercely denounce. She is regarded as a foreigner, 
an alien; for from the days of Balaam, when at his 
foul instigation Midianite women beguiled Israel to 
sin, female influence had again and again brought 
immoral practices and lewdness into the land. It 
was by foreign wives and concubines that the great 
king himself was led astray, I Kings xi, 4. She is 
well named a stranger to all good, purity, happi- 
ness, the foe of herself and of all her kind. The 
prevalence and danger of this sin are so great as to 
make the revelation about it very full and explicit: 
ii, 16-19; v, 3-20; vi, 23-35; vii 4-27; xxii, 14. 

(5) Intemperance. This and the sin of unclean- 
ness are twin serpents infinitely more deadly than 
the fabled snakes of Laocoon. Nothing can ex- 
ceed the vividness with which Solomon portrays the 
evils of intemperance. No other Scripture more 
abounds with the details of its horrors. Here are 
found some of the most powerful texts from which 
to preach against this dreadful sin: xx, i; xxiii, 1-3, 
29-35; xxxi 4-6. 

(6) Contention. Strifes, disputings, family brawls, 
quarrels, etc.; their causes and consequences are 
very fully treated: iii, 30; x, 12; xiii, 10; xv, I, 2, 4, 
18; xvi, 27, 28; xviii, 6-8, etc. 

(7) Lying. Truthfulness and honesty need to be 
strongly pressed, for the natural tendency of men is 
to deceive in order to gain an advantage or elde a 


loss; consequently the book emphatically condemns 
such conduct: vi, 16, 17; xii, 13, 14, 21, 22; xix, 5-9. 

(8) The tongue. Bridling the tongue: iv, 24; x.ig; 
xv, 4; xxi, 23. 

(9) Sloth. Paul as earnestly denounces idleness 
as Solomon. His terse and sufficient rule is, " If 
any man will not work let him not eat," 2 Thess. iii, 
10, revised version. It is well to ponder, in these 
days, the forcible teaching of Solomon: vi, 6-n; x, 
4, 5; xiii, 4; xxiv, 30-34. 

(10) Pride and its consequences, viii, 13; xi, 2; 
xvi, 18; xxix, 23. 

(11) Riches. How true is the description: xi, 4, 
28; xxiii, 5; xxvii, 24; xxx, 8. 

(12) Liberality: iii, 9, 10; xi, 24, 25; xiii, 7; xix,i7: 
" He that hath pity on the poor lendeth unto the 
Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay 
him again." This was the text chosen by the eccen- 
tric Rowland Hill for a " charity sermon" he had 
been asked to preach. Reading it slowly and care- 
fully to the congregation, the preacher began with 
this sentence, " If ye are satisfied with the security, 
down with the dust." 


The word ecclesiastes means preacher. The book 
bearing the name is a sort of sermon, and the speaker 
is the son of David, king of Jerusalem, i, I, 12. If 
this statement of the book is accepted as true, the 
question of its authorship is settled. There was but 
one son of David, humanly speaking, who is ca- 
pable of writing such a treatise as this, Solomon. 

The key-phrase is " Under the sun;" the key-verse, 

i. Style of Ecclesiastes. The tone of a portion 
of it is sorrowful and apparently skeptical. Unbe- 
lievers and scoffers often appeal to it as a sanction 
for their doubts and a ground of attack against the 
general faith of the Bible. Voltaire and Frederick 
the Great are said to have been fond of certain 
parts, especially of those in which Solomon records 
his apparent infidelity. The book reads like the ex- 
periences of one who had tried the world to the utmost, 
who had sounded its lowest depths, and found it false 
and hollow to the core, its pleasures delusions, its 
riches transient, its honors empty, its enjoyments and 
happiness Sodom apples that turn to ashes on the 
lips. Hence its sad and disappointed tone. In all the 
Bible there is not a sadder. The nearest approach 
to it in this regard is the Eighty-eighth Psalm. A 
profound melancholy runs through it melancholy 
which arises from a wide survey of human life and 


the doings of men, lit up here and there with a faint 
gleam of a brighter hope. The prevailing cry is that 
of weariness and despair: "Vanity of vanities; van- 
ity of vanities; all is vanity." This feeling of the 
preacher deepens into one of perplexity and appar- 
ent unbelief, iii, 19; ix, 2, 11; etc. It is just such a 
cry as we often hear from the inquiring and skepti- 
cal spirits of our own age. It is not the voice of ab- 
stract right, or truth, or religion, but the bitter and 
agonizing utterance of one who has known much, 
felt much, tried much, been admired much, and yet 
who has seen through all the enormous pretensions 
and shams of the world. 

Is the book skeptical? What is its purpose? How 
shall we interpret it? In some respects it is difficult 
to understand; it is very easy to misunderstand it. 

2. Its character is earthly. It looks at things as 
connected with the earth; it looks no higher. The 
key to it is found in the expression, " under the sun" 
an expression found twenty-eight times in the 
book, and nowhere else in the whole Bible. " Under 
the heaven" is thrice mentioned, and " upon the 
earth," some seven times. Nearly forty times does 
the Spirit of God in this book name the earth and 
things belonging to earth, as if His gaze were fast- 
ened on this world alone and were raised no higher. 
Obviously, the book has to do with this world ex- 
clusively. It never gets above the sun until the very 
last verses are reached. 

If life be viewed as altogether apart from God, if 
it be contemplated exclusively in its relation to the 
earth, it becomes inexplicable, and divine Providence 
an insoluble problem. Leave God out of the affairs 
of the world, and the conclusions of Solomon must 


needs follow that there is no profit under the sun in 
one's labor; there is nothing new; wicked men are in 
the place of judgment; there is the oppression of the 
right, the wrong triumphant; folly and wisdom go 
the same road and to the same end; chance seems to 
regulate all things. In short, the beginning, middle 
and end of life becomes vanity and vexation of 
spirit. Exclude God from the world, and skepticism 
and materialism must be the inevitable result. 

Such is the chief design of the book to try and 
test things in order to prove how inadequate they 
are to satisfy the deepest and truest longings of the 
human heart. In the book Solomon is experi- 
menting upon the problem Can t*he world, apart 
from God, meet man's need? The verdict is here 
recorded " all is vanity." We will applv this prin- 
ciple to the book. 

3. The preacher proves vanity "under the sun" 
from his own experiences, chaps, i, ii. He sets out 
with the thought of the world's monotony. Genera- 
tions come and go. The sun rises and sets. The 
winds fly their rounds. The rivers run into the sea, 
yet the sea is not full. Some of his observations of 
natural phenomena are far in advance of anything 
known in his day by the students of nature. What 
he says about air currents in i, 6, is a matter of 
discovery only within the present age; and still more 
is this remark true of the statement of vs. 7. 
The Mediterranean, for instance, drains in part three 
continents. Into that sea the Nile, the Orontes, the 
Po, the Rhone, constantly flow; the Atlantic rushes 
into it through one mouth, the Black Sea pours into 
it through another. What becomes of the surplus 
water that is continuously poured into the Mediter- 


ranean? This was the question which puzzled geog- 
raphers for centuries At length, a London chemist 
discovered the secret that the clouds receive the 
surplus: evaporation accounts for all. How close is 
Solomon to this solution: " All the rivers run into 
the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place from 
whence the rivers come, thither they return." The 
preacher pertinently asks, " Is there anything 
whereof it may be said, see, this is new?" And he 
answers that it has been before. All is a weary go- 
round, nothing but a shifting of the old materials, a 
tiresome repetition, till life itself stiffens into dread- 
ful monotony. " Nothing new under the sun"- 
" vanity." 

The preacher made proof, next, of pleasure as 
promising satisfaction for the soul, ii, 1-3. Mirth, 
amusements, wine, were tried. He gave banquets, 
balls, had shows and displays of every kind, and no 
doubt gained for himself the title of the " Merry 
Monarch." But it was sheer failure vanity he 
wrote upon this effort. 

He then tried riches, and the peculiar treasure of 
kings, as likewise the gratification of his aesthetic 
tastes, ii, 4-1 1. He builded and planted, adorned 
and beautified. At his command palaces arose, 
fountains played, servants attended and musicians 
regaled his leisure hours. He affected art, increased 
his wealth and rejcJced in the success of his splen- 
did projects. But once more complete disappoint- 
ment was the issue" all was vanity and a striving 
after wind." 

His weariness and disgust ensued, ii, 12-26. Con 
fused, perplexed at the strange inexplicable fact 
that the wise man and the fool apparently fare alike 


under the sun, that they travel the same road, he 
" hated" life, took no pleasure in it, saw no advan- 
tage in it. With the pessimistic spirits of our rest- 
less age, Solomon is perilously near answering the 
question, Is life worth, living? in the negative. And 
no wonder. A soul made for God, striving to feed 
itself on husks, and seeking to gratify its infinite long- 
ings on things under the sun, can do no otherwise 
than become at length weary and disgusted with it 
all, and wish itself well out of the world. 

4. The preacher proves vanity under the sun 
from his wide observation, iii-viii, 15. 

He observes, first of all, the regularity and un- 
changeableness of natural law, iii. Immutable 
continuity, inexorable law; men and beasts are alike 
in the presence of these mighty forces; one event 
befalls both; "as the one dieth, so dieth the other." 

He next notes the wrongs and injustices practiced 
in the world, iv. Oppression, tyranny, envy, strife, 
division, they are to be seen everywhere, and the 
roots of them, too, insatiable greed. 

Observations on religion, on riches, and the use- 
lessness of money as a means to satisfy the soul, 
follow, v, vi. 

He next looks upon the inequality of rewards and 
punishments of the righteous and wicked under the 
sun, vii, viii, 15, the problem which has puzzled God's 
people through all time. (Note vii, 15; viii, 14, which 
open this part of the book.) 

5. The preacher's perplexity and apparent skep- 
ticism, viii, i6-xi. Let the reader ponder over 
chaps, viii, 14, 15; ix, 2-6; x, 5-11; xi, 8-10; and he 
will discover that the wisest of men, Solomon, was 
totally unable to unravel the mysteries by which he 


was surrounded under the sun. He even goes the 
length of seeming to affirm that death ends all, that 
there is little, if any, difference in the treatment of 
the righteous and the wicked here. With all their 
boasted progress the men of our times who live only 
under the sun have gotten no further. Life and its 
vicissitudes, viewed only as to this world and sphere 
(under the sun) become for the strongest intellect 
a tangled web whose meshes no mortal hand can 
disengage. Is it really surprising that the philoso- 
phers who speculate as to things under the sun, 
should at length in a sort of desperation declare the 
problem insoluble and name themselves very fit- 
tingly, agnostics know-nothings? The experiment 
of Solomon, alas, is being made by multitudes even 
in our day, and with the like result " vanity and 
vexation of spirit." 

6. The solution, xii, 13, 14. Here Solomon gets 
above the sun and things begin at once to disen- 
tangle and straighten. The " fear of God" is the 
Old Testament description of the New Testament 
' love of God." Love God, obey Him, trust Him 
and all will be well with you, for the judgment ap- 
proaches in which all wrongs will be righted and all 
mysteries cleared up, and you will be made glad 
with a joy unspeakable. This is the key of the book. 
Live under the sun, rise no higher and doubt and 
unbelief will ensue. Live above the sun, spend 
the days with God, and light and peace you shall 

Dr. McCook imagines a conversation between a 
bird and a mole which has pushed its head out of the 
ground: "What are you making such a noise 
about?" he asked the bird as it was swinging and 


singing on a branch of the tree. " O, the sunshine, 
the trees, the grasses, the shining stream yonder, and 
the white clouds on the mountain side. The world 
is full of beauty." " Nonsense!" said Mr. Mole. " I 
have lived longer in the world than you have, and I 
have gone deeper into it; I have traversed it and 
tunneled it, and I know what I am talking about, 
and I tell you there is nothing in it but fishing 
worms." Let a man live " under the sun," let him 
burrow in the earth and strive to get satisfaction for 
his soul out of it and he will have the experience of 
the mole. There will come the time, the bitter hour, 
when he will say with plash of tears and sobs of se- 
cret longing, " My soul hath no pleasure in it," " I 
hate my life." But let him rise above the sun and 
bask in the splendor of God's light and presence 
and he will sing. 

Ecclesiastes may be regarded as a sermon: Text, 
i, 2, 3. 

Part First. Text proved: 

1. By the preacher's experience, chaps, i, ii. 

2. By his observation, chaps, iii, iv. 
Part Second. Text unfolded: 

1. The miseries of life. 

2. The hypocrisies of life. 

3. The wrongs and injustices of life 

4. The riches and poverty of life. 

5. The uncertainties of life. 

6. The best way to get on through this dangerous 

7. Live above the sun and all will be well. 


Angus assigns this book of Scripture to B.C. IOOI. 
The universal voice of antiquity ascribes it to Solo- 
mon, and internal evidence confirms this testimony. 
His songs were a thousand and five, I Kings iv, 32; 
and this is called the " song of songs," because the 
best of them all. 

Key-word, " Beloved"; key-verse, vi, 3. 

Origen and Jerome tell us that the Jews forbade 
it to be read by any until he was thirty years old. It 
certainly needs a degree of spiritual maturity to 
enter aright into the holy mystery of love which it 
celebrates. It is possible to read the song amiss; 
but to such as have attained spiritual maturity, of 
what age soever, it is one of the most edifying of 
the sacred writings. 

Love to Jesus Christ becomes, through the sanc- 
tifying influence of the Holy Spirit, the strongest 
passion which can sway the human heart. Avarice, 
ambition, love of power may have more of the un- 
natural vigor attending fever; this carries with it the 
quiet, enduring energy of health that brings into 
captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 
Those alone who have experienced the power of 
this love in its intensity are competent judges 
whether any language used in expressing it may be 
exaggerated. If the love of God to us is as incom- 
prehensible as is His eternity and omnipresence, it is 
not surprising that the love of a grateful heart 


should struggle and strive to declare itself by ap- 
pealing to the tenderest ties, by using the boldest 
imagery; for the love of a believer is but a dim re- 
flection of the measureless love of God. 

1. The form of the song is somewhat difficult to 
determine. A drama it certainly is not, although it 
has been thus described. It presents little or 
nothing of the features belonging to the drama. 
While dialogue is found in it, still it is not of a very 
sustained kind, nor is it very marked. The feature 
chiefly lacking is a climax, the culminating finis with 
which the drama is expected to close. Its form 
seems to be that of a pastoral poem, with charac- 
ters presenting quasi-dramatic action. The person- 
ages introduced into it are the bridegroom and king; 
the bride, or spouse; the daughters of Jerusalem, or 
the court ladies of Solomon's palace. There is 
scarcely traceable any plot, nor dramatic unity, al- 
though the poem is one. Most of the addresses, in- 
stead of being dialogues, are soliloquies, apos- 
trophes, or monologues. It has changing scenes. 
Sometimes the scene is laid in a garden; at others in 
the palace; then in the country amid pastoral quiet 
and beauty; and in Jerusalem amidst the noise of a 
great city. 

This much may be confidently asserted, that it is a 
song of love in Oriental language and imagery, with 
rests and pauses and varying scenery and conversa- 

2. The design of the song. There are three in- 
terpretations of the poem advanced by as many 
schools of expositors. Each of these may be briefly 
m ^-rationed. 

"He first is that of the merely literal and erotic. 

SONGS. 199 

That is, it is held that the poem celebrates the love 
of Solomon for a young shepherdess who was a 
member of an agricultural family consisting of a 
widowed mother and several sons, who lived at 
Shulem. (The name of the place is derived from the 
spouse, viz., Shulemite.) The young woman, in the 
course of her pastoral duties, met with a shepherd to 
whom, in due time, she became espoused. Her 
brothers violently opposed the union. She was in- 
vited by her lover to accompany him to the fields; 
but her brothers, to prevent the meeting, sent her to 
take care of the vineyards. Here, she one day en- 
countered King Solomon, who, assisted by his court 
ladies, endeavored to win her love. But she re- 
mained steadfast to her affianced. The king carried 
her to the city, made her large promises and sought 
to overcome her scruples by princely presents; but 
without avail; and her fidelity was finally rewarded 
by her marriage with the shepherd and gifts from 
her reconciled brothers. 

According to this theory the scope of the book is 
to give us an " example of virtue in a young woman 
who encountered and conquered great temptations, 
and was eventually rewarded." If this is all, belief 
in its inspiration must be dismissed; and it has no 
better right to a place in the Bible than a tale from 
the Arabian Nights, or the sonnets from Shake- 
speare. Against this theory there are strong objec- 
tions: (i) It has been doubted whether there was 
such a place as Shulem whence the spouse derived 
her name of the Shulemite. (2) It seems obvious 
that if we accept this view of the book as true, then 
we must renounce the belief in Solomon's being the 
author; for it is altogether unlikely that he could 


have written so manifest an account of his own de- 
feat. (3) The vast majority of Bible students see 
no ground or foundation for the story detailed above. 
They find no shepherd in it; no betrothal of the 
Shulemite with a shepherd; no effort on the part of 
the king to supplant another in her affections and 
steal her from him. In short, the story on which 
this view rests is pure fiction. (4) If it be no more 
than a love-poem celebrating one of Solomon's 
amours it is incredible that it should have been in- 
corporated with the other books of the Bible, and 
for so many centuries held its place with the other 
inspired books as one of them. It was in the Old 
Testament canon when the Septuagint version was 
made, two hundred and fifty years before the advent 
of the Savior; it has kept its place there ever since. 
If it is only a " dissolute love song " God would have 
found a way to cast it out of His Book ages ago, 
like the Apocraphal books. (5) The strange and 
strong hold it has had upon some of the most spirit- 
ually minded men the world has ever seen men like 
Rutherford, McCheyne, Gill, Moody, Stuart, John 
and Thomas Goodwin is inexplicable if the song 
be nothing more than this hypothesis offers. We 
must reject this theory. 

The second view we mention which has been 
put forward as an explanation of the design of the 
book is called the moral. The song is regarded as 
a description of wedded love in the exercise of its 
highest and purest affections. In this interpretation 
no spiritual sense is attached to the poem. The 
great moral sentiments relating to the holy estate of 
marriage alone are intended to be inculcated. The 
foundation for this opinion rests on the union of 

SONGS. 201 

Solomon with the daughter of Pharaoh. It is held 
that the poem sings the praises of that princess, and 
celebrates the happiness the king enjoyed in union 
with her. 

There are very grave objections which may be 
urged against this theory. We may safely assert 
that the Egyptian princess is not meant at all nor 
can be meant by the Shulemite. Some of the diffi- 
culties that lie against it may be stated. The deli- 
cate daughter of the haughty Pharaoh could not in 
any supposable manner have ever been the sun- 
burnt keeper of the vineyards, as the spouse is de- 
scribed to have been, ch. i, 6. She could not have 
been unveiled and beaten by the watchman of Jeru- 
salem, v, 7. She could not have come from the 
snowy heights of Lebanon when she had no occa- 
sion to be within one hundred and twenty miles of 
its base, iv, 8. And it is very unlikely that she con- 
ducted Solomon into her mother's house, which was 
in Egypt, iii, 4. 

Moreover, on this theory it is impossible to ac- 
count for tht remarkable situation of the spouse. 
She is found wandering through the streets of the 
great city by night; is smitten by watchmen; her 
veil is torn rudely from her face, the gravest in- 
sult that could be offered an Eastern woman. In 
fact, her whole conduct is utterly irreconcilable with 
the Oriental ideas of womanly seclusion and mod- 
esty. If this spouse is a veritable woman, having 
the experience here ascribed to her, then her char- 
acter is altogether incompatible with Eastern habits 
of decorum, and is questionable. 

The third view is, that the song is an allegory, 
that under the guise of human love, the love which 


passes between two loyal and faithful hearts, is set 
forth the intimate, tender relationship existing be- 
tween Christ and His people. The frame, we may 
reverently say, is human conjugal affection. But 
through this thin, skillfully carved lattice-work 
there glance out upon us the joy and bliss, the rapt- 
ure and ecstacy, the strange, tender wondrous play 
of the deep abiding love of Jesus for His own, and 
reciprocally, theirs for Him. The Chaldee Targum, 
the oldest Jewish commentary on the book, entitles 
it, " The Songs and Hymns which Solomon the 
Prophet, King of Israel, Delivered by the Spirit of 
Prophecy, before Jehovah, the Lord of the Whole 
Earth." The great body of Christians have always 
regarded it as a symbolical exhibition of the rela- 
tions subsisting between the Lord and His people. 
From first to last, orthodox believers hold it bears 
the stamp of the allegory. In support of this view 
the following arguments may be urged: (i) It best 
accounts for the position of the book in the canon 
of Scripture. (2) It accords with the instincts of 
the spiritually-minded. (3) The names of its prin- 
cipal characters indicate that it is an allegory 
Shalomoh, Solomon, the peaceful one, the prince of 
peace, and Shulamith, also the peaceful one, but 
feminine the daughter of peace. These names are 
believed to be as suggestive, as significant, as Bun- 
yan's "Christian" and "Christiana," or "Faithful" 
and " Hopeful." Read in this light, we perceive 
how appropriately the book represents Jesus as the 
peaceful one, the peace-bringer, and His people as 
the sharers of His peace, those to whom He gives 
peace. (4) The fancifulness of some of the scenes 
and situations render a literal interpretation absurd 

SONGS. 203 

and impossible. See, for example, ii, 14-17; iii, 1-4; 
vi, 4-7; iv, 8. The Shulemite is in the clefts of the 
rock, in the concealments of the precipices; the 
bridegroom is in the garden, beyond the mountains, 
in the distant fields. The bride sleeps, the lover 
knocks at her door in the stillness of the night 
withdraws when he receives no answer to his call. 
She in her remorse arises and wanders about the 
streets of the city. The rapid transitions, the re- 
markable situations indicate that the poem is an al- 
legory. (5) This interpretation harmonizes best 
with the Old Testament representations of the rela- 
tion between God and His people. This relation is 
often set forth as one of wedlock. The prophets, 
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, in particular, make the 
marriage covenant existing between the Lord and 
Israel the ground of their passionate appeals. Nor 
is the New Testament silent as to this relation. The 
union and reciprocal love of Christ and the church 
are described in language closely akin to that of the 
song, " He is the Bridegroom who hath the Bride." 
They rejoice in each other. Their delights are 
mutual, identical, Matt, ix, 15; John iii, 29; 2 Cor.xi, 
2; Eph. v, 25-32; Rev. xix, 7-9; xxi, 7-27. 

The sudden pronominal changes indicate that the 
song is an allegory. " Draw me, we will run after 
thee." " The King hath brought me into His cham- 
bers; we will be glad and rejoice in thee," i, 4. The 
bride's name is not that of a single individual, but is 
collective. She is the " daughter of Zion." 

3. The teaching of the Song we hold is the fol- 

(i) The bridegroom is the Messiah, the Re- 


(2) The b ride, His people. 

(3) The daughters of Jerusalem, are the friends of 
both, Jno. iii, 29. 

(4) The Song describes the love which exists be- 
tween them. The fountain of all love for Christ is 
His love to us. To know His love is to love Him 
in return, I Jno. iv, 19. 

(5) The time when the Song has its fulfillment is 
always. But it is believed that it will have a pecu- 
liar accomplishment in that day when the Jews are 
again restored to God's favor and fellowship and 
for the second time the marriage bond is ratified and 
sealed, never again to be violated, Hos. i, ii; Rom. 
xi, 26-29. 

(6) Traits of Christ's love. It is unconditional^ chap, 
i, 2-6; comp. Rom. v, 8. Irresistible, ii, 8; comp. I 
John iv, 10. Intense, ii, 9, 10; comp. John xiv, 1-3. 
Sheltering and protective, ii, 14, 15; comp. Ps. xci, 1-6. 
Exacting, v, 2; comp. Eph. v, i, 2. Jealous, v, 6; 
comp. Rev. iii, 20. 

(7) Traits of a believer's love. It is self-depreciating, 
i, 5. Eager for communion, ii, 1-7. Sometimes inter- 
rupted, iii, i. Sorrowful, v, 6, 7. Intermittent, v, i, 2. 
Self-sacrificing, iii, 2, 3. 

4. Structure and summary of contents: (Moody 

Canto One. Subject, the bride seeking and find- 
ing the king. 

1. The king sought, chap, i, 2-8. 

2. The king found, i, 9; ii, 7. 

Canto Two. Subject, the sleeping bride awak- 

1. Call to meet the bridegroom, ii, 8-15. 

2. Response of the bride, 16; iii, ii, 5. 

SONGS. 205 

Canto Three. Subject, the bridegroom with the 

1. The king in his bridal chariot, iii, 6-1 1 

2. The beauty of the bride, iv, 1-7. 

3. Garden of spices, iv, 8; v, 2. 

Canto Four. Subject, bridegroom's withdrawal 
and reappearance. 

1. Sleep and sorrow, v, 3; vi, 3. 

2. Bridegroom's return, vi, 4-10. 

3. Glory of the bride, vi, n; vii, 10. 

4. Garden in the fields, vii, n; viii, 4. 

Canto Five. Subject, the little sister, viii, -14. 


The subject of prophecy is a vast and important 
one. It occupies a most prominent place in the 
Bible. It is found in almost every portion of the 
Word of God. Sixteen books (i. e., if we reckon 
Lamentations as a part of Jeremiah) of the Old 
Testament are devoted to it, and one of the New, 
Revelation. The moral instruction it contains, the 
momentous events it announces, the revelation of 
the divine character and of the nature, establishment, 
and purpose of the kingdom of God, which it 
affords, all combine to invest it with the profound- 
est interest. Before entering upon a study of the 
prophetic books, some observations on the general 
subject seem to be required. 

Happily the Bible itself furnishes us an authorita- 
tive definition of the office and function of the 
prophet. In Ex. vii, I, we are told "the Lord said 
unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to 
Pharaoh; and Aaron, thy brother, shall be thy 
prophet." No statement could be clearer than this. 
By divine appointment Moses was to be in the place 
of God to Pharaoh, and Aaron was to act as the 
prophet of Moses, receiving from him the message 
and delivering it to the king. This is further illus- 
trated in Ex. iv, 15, 16, where Moses was directed to 
11 speak" to Aaron, " and put words into his mouth," 
the Lord promising at the same time to be with the 


mouths of both His servants and to teach them what 
they should do. Furthermore, Aaron was to be 
Moses' spokesman unto the people, i. e., he was to 
act the part of the prophet for Moses, and Moses 
was to be to him instead of God. 

Here, then, we have the Scriptural definition of 
the prophet. He was one who received a message 
from God and delivered it to those for whom it was 
intended. He was God's " spokesman" and 
44 mouth," the bearer and proclaimer of the Lord's 
will. He was " the man of God;" his message the 
word of God. Through him God spake, Heb. i, i. 

Prophecy sprang from man's exigencies. It had 
its origin in man's sore need; its birth was in the day 
of his sin and apostasy. The first great predictive 
promise, that which stands at the head of all the 
rest and leads the long procession, was given after 
the fall, and because of the fall, Gen. iii, 15. Mercy 
and grace prompted it, but the ruin wrought by sin 
was its occasion. It was mainly in consequence of 
Israel's rejection of God as their glorious King, and 
their determination to have a king from among them- 
selves and like themselves that Samuel and the proph- 
ets that follow after came into such prominence. It 
was because of the apostasy of the chosen people and 
the tremendous afflictions which befell them on ac- 
count of it that the ministries of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, 
and Daniel assumed such vast importance, and be- 
came so significant in all succeeding history. 
Prophecy, therefore, implies failure. Had there 
been no sin, prophecy would probably have never 
been given, because not needed. The apostle Peter 
exhorts believers to take heed to the word of proph- 
ecy more confirmed " as unto a light that shineth in 


a dark place, until the day dawn and the day-star 
arise in your hearts," 2 Pet. i, 19. "A lamp shining 
in a dark place" is the inspired description of the 
nature and object of prophecy. It was when Israel 
was apostatizing from God that the prophets ap- 
peared, uttered their solemn warnings and made 
their passionate appeals. It was when Jesus knew 
that the nation had determined on His rejection and 
murder that He announced the overthrow of the 
temple, the dismemberment and dispersion of the 
chosen people. It was when the Spirit of God had 
detected the germs of declension and apostasy in 
the professing Christian church that He revealed 
the guilt, tribulation, and doom of the unfaithful 

One great aim of prophecy was to testify against 
the defections and corruptions of the prophet's own 
times, and to arrest and correct them. Thus, Elijah, 
Elisha, Hosea, Amos and others bore a faithful wit- 
ness against the increasing wickedness of the kings 
and people of Israel (the northern kingdom), and 
their tone deepened in intensity and earnestness in 
proportion as the evils grew and the end drew on. 
So, too, the prophets of Judah cried aloud and 
spared not in their efforts to check and turn back 
the tide of evil, but in vain; and Jeremiah sings at 
length the mournful dirge that tells of Judah's fall. 
Accordingly, the prophet's message often originated 
from the circumstances and the exigencies of his 
own times, and often likewise was addressed to the 
men of his own generation. But this is not an in- 
variable rule. There is no traceable connection be- 
iween the temporal conditions of Micah and the 
prediction of the birth-place of Messiah, Micah v, 2, 


Nor is it possible to find any relation between the 
circumstances in the life of the writer of Psalm 
twenty-two and the unique experiences therein de- 
tailed. The same remark holds in the instances 
of the covenant and promises made to Abraham, 
Gen. xv, xxii. The seven great prophetic parables 
of Matt, xiii, properly speaking, have no " historical 
setting," as the pet phrase runs. It is a very serious 
mistake to tie up the messages of the prophets to 
their own times, and attempt to exhaust their con- 
tents in their application to the prophet's contem- 

The prophets were predictors of future events. 
They were the deliverers of the divine communica- 
tions not only as to the moral state of the men of 
the prophet's own generation, but more especially 
as to God's purposes in the future. Often, in fact 
almost invariably, the messages of the prophets to 
the people of their own day are intermingled with 
announcements of events to be realized in the dis- 
tant future. Such, for example, are many of the 
predictions of Isaiah, of almost all of Daniel, of our 
Lord's Olivet prophecy, Matt, xxiv, xxv, and the 
Apocalypse of John. 

Each prophet had both a distinct call to the office, 
and a message to deliver. Both were from God. 
No man could assume it, self-appointed; much less 
could he originate his message. For Moses, see 
Ex. iii, 2\ Samuel, I Sam. iii, 10; Isa. vi, 8; Jer. i, 5; 
Ezek. ii, 4; Dan. ii, 19-23, etc. 

The outline of the general subject may be sum- 
marized as follows: 

i. Prophecy is a miracle of knowledge. That is, 
it is an accurate foreseeing and foretelling of future 


events so that men may perceive that human sagac- 
ity, political forecasting, induction by the reason, 
and intuition, could by no possibility of exertion or 
premeditation ever predict. Biblical prophecy is 
not an inference from existing data nor a deduc- 
tion. Much less is it a generalization from known 
facts or shrewd guessing. As it is from God who 
knows the end from the beginning it can only be a 
divine revelation. A true prophecy is authenticated 
by its fulfillment, and remains always a monument 
of its own origin and truth. Deut. xiii, 1-3; xviii, 
20-22; Jer. xxviii, 1-9. 

2. It must have been uttered as a prophecy from 
the beginning. A conjecture, or a happy coincidence, 
is excluded. An inspired prediction is intentionally 
given as such, because God, its Author, knows pre- 
cisely what the event predicted shall be, and He has 
the power and wisdom to secure its accomplish- 

3. It must have a definite meaning, and inculcate 
a moral truth. All prophecy is a revelation of the 
perfections and purposes of God. 

4. It must be worthy of God. The puerilities and 
silliness so often associated with sooth-saying can 
have no place in predictions which come from God. 

5. While it is perspicuous, it is not so detailed and 
minute as to suggest to human agents ways and 
methods of working out its accomplishment. 

In the study of prophecy it should be borne in 
mind that it is marked by a certain progress. This 
is true indeed of the whole Bible. It is a book of 
growth. The " sundry times and divers manners" of 
Heb. i, I, indicates this fact. Gradually, by piece- 
meal as we might say, God gave forth His commun- 


ications to the people through His servants, the 

The progress referred to is particularly noticeable 
in the predictions relating to the Messiah, the prom- 
ised Deliverer. At first His coming is made public 
and promiscuous. He might be born anywhere, He 
might spring from any family of earth. The only 
thing certain was that He was to be a descendant of 
Eve, the mother of us all. But ere long a restrict- 
ing process began which limited the promise and 
made it more definite and precise. It is announced 
that He shall be of the seed of Abraham, Gen. xvii, 
7; xxii, 18; that He shall be of the tribe of Judah, 
Gen. xlix, 10; of the house of David, 2 Sam. vii, 14- 
16; the Son of a Virgin, Isa. vii, 14; born at Bethle- 
hem, Micah v, 2\ and in the sixty-ninth week of 
Daniel's mystic seventy, Dan. ix, 24-26. As the 
majestic portrait of the coming Messiah grows, new 
features are added to it by the prophetic hand. He 
is to be a holy sin-bearer, a silent sufferer, a slaught- 
ered Lamb. The sword is to awake against Him, 
and He is to know the bitterness of death and the 
grave. And yet He is to be the conqueror of death, 
the vanquisher of the grave. From first to last, 
from the prophetic Psalms to Isaiah and Daniel and 
Malachi, there is progress, movement, growth. 

We should carefully discriminate between proph- 
ecy and what in some sort resembles it and with 
what it has sometimes been confounded, viz., divina- 
tion. According to the Scripture, prophecy does 
not spring from any natural parts whatsoever, or 
from any powers of the human spirit. Its origin is 
always traced to the supernatural working of the 
Spirit of God on the spirit of the prophet. The 


prophets disclaim any part in the origination of 
their messages. Even the words in which the mes- 
sage is conveyed they ascribe to God. Their uni- 
form and authoritative formula is, " The word of the 
Lord came unto me" " Thus saith the Lord." The 
language of the apostle Peter is final on the subject: 
" For no prophecy ever came by the will of man; 
but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy 
Ghost," 2 Pet. i, 21, cf; I Pet. i, 10, 11; Lu. i, 70, etc. 
Soothsaying can claim no such exalted origin. 
Mark the difference between the two. Prophecy 
from its nature and design cannot give predictions 
on all kinds of subjects and things. Divination at- 
tempts precisely to do this. Prophecy announces 
nothing else than events and relations which stand 
in organic and internal connection with the plan of 
redemption. Divination undertakes to reveal the 
future of persons and things without any reference 
to the divine government or God's purposes of 
grace. Prophecy has to do with the course and de- 
velopment of God's kingdom in the world. Divina- 
tion is essentially a puerile kind of fortune-telling. 
Prophecy is the product of the inspiration of the 
Holy Spirit. Divination rests upon an imaginary 
intercourse with an extra-mundane spirit. The 
prophet spoke the words of the Lord, the words 
which the Lord had put into his mouth, Jer. i, 9; 
Ezek. ii, 7. The soothsayer and false prophet spoke 
out of their own hearts, Jer. xiv, 14; xxiii, 16. The 
former brought objective truth, the latter a subjec- 
tive presentiment. The one received his message 
from without, from beyond the boundaries of his 
own intelligence. The other evoked his oracle from 
the depths of his own heart. The prophets had for 


the object and center of all their communications 
the Lord Jesus Christ. Divination knows nothing 
of Christ, cares nothing for Him. 

Besides, there is a remarkable harmony and cor- 
respondence between the claim of the prophets to be 
the spokesmen of God and their messages. There is 
no disparity between them. Their claim and their 
message square with each other. In all the range 
of literature there is nothing next to or like this to 
be found. In this respect the prophecy of Scripture 
stands without a parallel in the history of the world. 

We are not left to conjecture how the divine com- 
munications were made to the prophets. In Num. 
xii, 6-8, the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam 
that He would make Himself known to a prophet in 
a vision or a dream; but to Moses His servant He 
would " speak mouth to mouth." In these three 
ways God made known His will to men. That He 
spoke to men by an audible voice, giving them a 
verbal message cannot be doubted, Num. xii, 4, 8; 
Deut. xxxiv, 10; I Sam. iii; Ezek. ii, etc. Through 
dreams likewise the will of God was revealed. 
Joseph in Egypt, Joseph the husband of Mary, 
Nebuchadnezzar and others had communications 
from God in this way. Most of the contents of the 
prophetic Scriptures were given through visions 
vouchsafed the prophets. In the dream and vision 
the mental state of the prophet is conjectured by 
Myrick to have been as follows: (i) The bodily 
senses were closed to external objects as in deep 
sleep. (2) The reflective and discursive faculty was 
still and inactive. (3) The spiritual faculty (the 
pneumd) was awakened to the highest state of energy. 
The spirit of the prophet became, as it were, an ear and 


an eye, aroused and quickened as lie was by the Spirit 
of God, so that he could hear the voice of the Lord 
and see the future as it was unfolded to him by the 
revealing Mind. Anciently the name Seer was given 
the prophet (i Sam. ix, 9), because pre-eminently he 
was one who saw, who was endowed with the seeing 
faculty in the highest degree. He possessed a pre- 
ternatural sight, and insight; he had power given 
him to look into the invisible world. That the 
prophets did not always understand the messages 
which were communicated to them is evident from 
I Pet. i, 10-12. After receiving the messages they 
themselves diligently studied them. In both Daniel 
and the Apocalypse of John there is unmistakable evi- 
dence of this fact, Dan. vii, 28; viii, 15-27; x, 7-15; 
Rev. i, 17; vii, 13, 14; xvii, 6. It follows of necessary 
consequence that the very words must have been 
given the prophets by the Lord, for they were in- 
competent to put into intelligible and accurate lan- 
guage that which they themselves did not under- 

i. The vividness of the visions. The prophets be- 
held the future as if it were present. In fact, the 
future was brought before them and became an 
actual reality by the series of object-visions or pict- 
ures in which it was embodied visibly before them. 
" They saw the future in space rather than in time; 
the whole, therefore, appears foreshortened and per- 
spective rather than actual distance is regarded." 
Hence they of ten speak of the future as if it were past. 
There is a " prophetic perfect" tense in the language 
of prophecy. Psalms xxii, Ixix, Is. liii, and much of 
Daniel and Revelation are examples of this use of 
language. Very graphic are the visions of the 


prophets. The picture of the event foretold stands 
out sharply defined, clear, unmistakable in its out- 
lines, massiveness and action. 

2. Symbolism. Prophecy is full of symbols. They 
correspond to the types of the Mosaic ritual; in both 
the predominant idea is the pictorial representation 
of things to come. In Daniel and John the future is 
portrayed by a series of gorgeous pictures. Sym- 
bols, it should be remembered, have a language of 
their own as definite as any form of speech. They 
are addressed to the eye, while the prophetic dis- 
course is for the ear. 

Some of the uses of prophecy may be briefly sum- 

1. It substantiates the claims and the mission of 
the prophet. 

2. It is a perduring witness to the person, charac- 
ter and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

3. It is a chief pillar of Christianity as a divine 

4. It is an unimpeachable evidence of the plenary 
inspiration of the Bible. 

5. It is the lamp by the light of which the be- 
liever is to walk through the darkness of this world. 

Some hints touching the study and interpretation 
of prophecy may not be out of place. Of course, in 
a paper such as this only the briefest suggestions 
are given. 

i. Ascertain the relation of the prophecy to the 
prophet himself and to the times in which he lived 
Often the historical occasion of the divine commun- 
ication serves to throw much light on its meaning 
and aim. But this is only partially true. There are 


many predictions of which the " historical setting," 
even if it were discoverable, affords no help. 

2. Collect together all that God the Holy Spirit 
has been pleased to reveal on any subject, and study 
and compare. 

3. Distinguish the form from the truth embodied 
in it. That is, distinguish figures from what is repre 
sented by them. Whatever images the prophet may 
use the subject of prophecy is never a figure. Back 
of the picture and behind the image in which the 
future is revealed lies the reality, the mighty fact 
which the Spirit of God has been pleased to reveal. 

4. Mark the principles of interpretation sanctioned 
by the New Testament. We there find the true 
method of prophetic interpretation, viz., that the 
Bible is an organic unity, that Christ is the center 
and object of all the divine counsels and purposes, 
that Israel is not exactly the church of God of our 
dispensation, and that there is a great and blessed 
future both for Israel and for the earth itself. If one 
reverently and earnestly gives himself to the study 
of prophetic interpretation as furnished by the in- 
spired writers of the New Testament he will discover 
the divinely sanctioned rule for all the Bible. 

5. A common maxim is that history is the ex- 
pounder of prophecy; that we must await its fulfill- 
ment to understand it. The view is only partially 
correct, is indeed very inadequate. It confounds 
the interpretation with the confirmation. A predic- 
tion is sometimes as difficult to understand after its 
accomplishment as before. If prophecy can be un- 
derstood only when it has been fulfilled, then it is 
practically useless until it has become history. How, 
then, can it be a lamp shining in a dark place for our 



guidance? Prophecy is intended for all God' 

ple. But all cannot know the world's history: hence 

history is not its final interpreter. 

6. The Spirit of God is the infallible interpreter 
of prophecy, as He is of all Scripture. 


Of the prophet who bears this name little is 
known. He was the son of Amoz, a person of 
course not to be identified with the prophet, Amos. 
A current Jewish tradition, according to Home, con- 
nected Isaiah with the blood-royal, his father being 
the son of Joash and brother of Amaziah, king of 
Judah. Jerome, on the authority of some rabbinical 
writers, says that the prophet gave his daughter in 
marriage to King Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah. 
How much of this traditional information is to be re- 
ceived as worthy of credence it might be difficult to 
determine, perhaps very little of it. There is more 
ground for believing that the prophet suffered death 
in the early reign of Manasseh, being martyred for 
his infidelity to the truth of which he had borne the 
noblest and most constant testimony. It is said that 
he was sawn asunder by order of that bloody tyrant, 
the Diocletian of Jewish history. Heb. xi, 37, is 
thought by many to allude to Isaiah's death. His 
extraordinary call to the office of prophet is re- 
corded in the sixth chapter of his book. It is not 
meant that Isaiah did not exercise his ministry to 
some extent before the great vision recorded in 
chapter six took place. But by it he was inau- 
gurated into the great work to which, in an especial 
manner, he was now called. It was in the year 
Uzziah died that the vision was vouchsafed him 

ISAIAH. 219 

which changed the whole current of his life and 
which, as in the case of Saul of Tarsus, made him 
the man he was. Isaiah saw the Lord seated on a 
throne high and lifted up. Cherubs, with veiled 
faces and veiled feet, surrounded the enthroned One 
as guards round the King. From side to side went 
up a hymn of praise, the heavenly hosts chanting 
with tireless energy the holiness of the Lord. All 
the young man's sins, all the sins of the nation 
rushed upon him with overwhelming force. " Woe 
is me, for I am undone," he cried. In the presence 
of the dazzling brightness and infinite glory of the 
throne he felt himself to be a man of unclean lips, 
" the foul-mouthed son of a foul-mouthed race." 
On those defiled lips the swift seraph laid the flam- 
ing coal from the flaming altar. This signified the 
removing of pollution and the creation of that mar- 
velous style of speech which has entranced the 
world. From that time forward Isaiah possessed in 
the highest degree the prophetic gift, a message 
from God and the power to utter it in the most for- 
cible language. Both the message and the speech 
were communicated to him from God Himself. The 
awful voice asked: "Whom shall I send, and who 
will go for us?" With unhesitating devotion the 
young man replied, " Here am I; send me." It was 
his supreme call and commission. 

The circle of hearers on whom his ministry was 
designed immediately to operate was Judah and 
Jerusalem. Isaiah was the prophet of Judah. While 
he spoke of Syria, Moab, Egypt, Tyre, Assyria, 
Babylon, etc., nevertheless these nations were intro- 
duced because of their connection with the kingdom 
of Judah. It was not for their benefit he prophesied, 


but for the people of Judah alone now become the 
sole home of Jewish blessings and of hope. His 
ministry was to be a strangely barren one, vi, 9-13; 
at least so far as the world judges. The louder he 
should cry the less would the people hear and un- 
derstand. Under his testimony, powerful as it 
should be, worse and more obdurate would they be- 
come until judicial blindness, God's heaviest punish- 
ment in this world, should settle down upon them. 
Both the Lord Jesus and Paul allude to the awful 
effect of refusing the words of God, the hardening 
process which is sure to follow unbelief, Matt, xiii, 
14, 15; Actsxxviii, 25-27. History evermore repeats 
itself. The Jews of Isaiah's time had their counter- 
part in those of Jesus' and Paul's day. Nor is it 
otherwise now. Refuse the divine message, and 
keep on refusi .g it; and the time will come when 
all you can do is to refuse, when the ears cannot 
hear and the eyes are fast closed in sleep. Besides, 
Isaiah's ministry was to be one largely made up of 
the reiterations of "commonplaces." The sad, 
plaintive cry, " Precept upon precept, precept upon 
precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, 
there a little," xxviii, 10, II, was to be a prominent 
feature in his work and testimony. " Common- 
places!" It is the work of God's messengers still, 
often sorrowful enough! 

Isaiah's ministry extended over a long period, at 
least over the reigns in whole or in part, of four 
kings, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, i, I. 
Probably but little of his prophetic career belonged 
to the reign of Uzziah. From the book itself it can 
not be determined whether any prophecy was de- 
Wvered during the time of Jotham. But it should be 

ISAIAH. 221 

remembered that Uzziah was a leper in the closing 
years of his life, and Jotham, his son, was probably 
regent during the time, 2. Kings xv, 5; 2 Chron.xxvi, 
21 (Uzziah and Azariah are identical). His pro- 
phetic activity lasted it is thought by many, for 
sixty years, perhaps for sixty-five. Rawlinson's con- 
jectural estimate of his lifetime is ninety years B. 
B. 780 and B. C. 690 which would make him con- 
temporary with Manasseh for the space of nine 

Isaiah's character is one of great boldness and 
earnestness. Toward sin of every kind, he is 
everywhere uncompromising. Fraud, oppression, 
dishonesty, hypocrisy, idolatry, apostasy, he de- 
nounces with a vehemence that is unparalleled. 
" He conceals nothing, keeps nothing back, out of a 
desire for court favor." " Is it a small thing for you 
to weary men?" he says to one king; " but must ye 
weary my God also?" vii, 13. " Set thine house in 
order," he says to another, " for thou shalt die and 
not live," xxxviii, I. But he is not all sternness. 
Some of his passages are unsurpassed for tenderness 
and compassion and love. Where can anything be 
found which for pathos equals this, " Comfort ye, 
comfort ye, my people," xl, I, 2\ " As one whom his 
mother cornforteth, so will I comfort you," Ixvi, 13, 
as if the great God, like a gentle mother, took up 
into His mighty arms His poor, weeping people, and 
hushed their sobbings, and rocked them to rest on 
His own infinite heart. His horizon is broader than 
that of most of the prophets. While Judah and 
Jerusalem are the great themes of his prophetic ut- 
terances and are nearer his heart than any others, 
yet the Gentiles are his brother men also, and for 


them sublime predictions are made, and their future 
is painted in as glowing colors of beauty and glory 
as that of Israel itself. Nay, the weary earth and 
tired nature, the very beasts of the field, together 
with toiling and suffering man, universal man are 
yet to share in the glorious salvation of our God. 

Then, too, his spirituality and deep reverence 
should not be overlooked. With David he sees 
clearly that outward forms and ceremonies are not the 
true religion, nor sacrifices, nor assemblies of wor- 
shiping people, nor days, nor fasts, nor temples, 
constitute true religion, are of no value in the sight 
of God if purity of heart and genuine obedience and 
whole-hearted consecration to the service and wor- 
ship of God are absent. Isaiah is the evangelical 
prophet. He speaks of Christ and of His redemp- 
tion with almost the same clearness and fullness as 
an evangelist or an apostle. 

His name, Isaiah, signifies the salvation of Jeho- 
vah, and it, together with the names of his two sons, 
are thought by Dr. Forbes to be introduced into the 
prophecies with great beauty and force on the prin- 
ciple of rhetoric known as paranomasia, i. e., play on 
the name, viz., Maher-shalal-hash-baz (" speed, spoil, 
hastens the prey"), viii:i, 3; Shear-jashub ("a 
remnant shall return"), x, 4-34; Isaiah ("Salvation 
of Jehovah "), xi, xii. 

That these three names are wrought into the 
chapters above cited, can hardly be doubted. The 
same remark holds likewise as to the name, Im- 
manuel, viii, 5~ix, 7. 

i. The title and authentication of the book, chap. 
i, i: "The vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz, which 
he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days 

ISAIAH. 223 

of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of 
Judah." This verse is not the preface to the first 
chapter or to any small portion of the book, as is 
evident from the enumeration of the four kings; it is 
a sort of caption to the entire volume. But more, 
the verse is designed to be a witness and a seal of 
the source and integrity of the contents of the book. 
It is very noteworthy that all the prophetic books 
have just such an endorsement as this of Isaiah, and 
almost invariably the authentication is found at the 
opening of the writing. Daniel appears to be an ex- 
ception; but ch. i, 17, is the voucher for that prophet. 
The same literary peculiarity, as we may venture to 
call it, distinguishes the epistolary writings of the 
New Testament. Paul begins his letters with such 
an authentication as is found in the prophets. So, 
likewise, do James, Peter, and Jude. John writes 
the opening sentence of the Apocalypse with just 
such an appeal to the divine origin of the predictions 
contained in his book as the Old Testament seers 
employ. The Holy Spirit, who is the real Author of 
the Bible, has thus stamped His majestic imprimatur 
on the great prophetic and epistolary writings. He 
would be rash and reckless indeed who would essay 
to remove it! 

2. Isaiah may be conveniently divided into three 
great parts. Part I., chs. i-xxxv. Part II., chs. xxxvi- 
xxxix. Part III., chs. xl-lxvi. In Parts I. and III. 
there are three main groups of prophecies, while in 
Part II. there is but one subject mainly, viz., histori 
cal events in connection with the reign of Hezekiah. 

Part I. of the book may be distributed into the 
three folio wing groups of prophecies: (i) Reproofs, 
warnings, and promises addressed chiefly to Judah 


and Jerusalem, together with hopes held forth to the 
Gentiles, chaps, i-xii. This section ends with a 
glowing announcement of the blessed day coming, 
the millennial day, when all the promises of God 
will have their ample fulfillment, chaps, xi-xii. 
Israel's conversion and the joy of the whole earth in 
consequence are rapturously described. The an- 
tagonisms in nature, the wrongs and oppressions 
and cruelties practiced by men against one another, 
in short, the miseries and wretchedness and bitter- 
ness of life as it now is in the world, will all be done 
away, and righteousness and peace and universal 
rest and blessing cover the whole world as a mantle 
of joy. 

(2) Predictions respecting the nations which were 
specially hostile to Judah, chaps, xiii-xxiii. Some 
eight nations are named, among them the great 
powers of Babylon, Syria, Egypt and Tyre. Their 
sin and doom are graphically depicted. 

(3) Predictions of judgment on the world, on 
Samaria and Judah and sins and wickedness which 
provoke the judgment, the Assyrian invasion and 
destruction of Samaria, the alarm, distress, and final 
deliverance of Jerusalem, chaps, xxiv-xxxv. The 
section terminates with another magnificent descrip- 
tion of the coming glory, xxxv. 

Part II. contains the historical chapters, xxxvi- 
xxxix. Two of them, xxxvi, xxxvii, relate the story 
of the Assyrian invasion and its results; the others, 
xxxviii, xxxix, Hezekiah's sickness and recovery, 
and the incident of the Babylonian ambassadors. 
The first two chapters face Part I. of the book, the 
last two Part III. These historical chapters are the 
bridge between the two great sections of the 

ISAIAH. 225 

prophecy, binding thus into one the entire volume. 

Part III. consists of chaps, xl-lxvi. The predictions 
contained in this section of Isaiah are surpassingly 
grand as to style, transcendently lofty as to concep- 
tion, most precious in all the wealth of promise and 
assurance as to the future of God's people and the 
world itself. With consummate art the prophet has 
cast his inspired writing into three main divisions, 
each of which ends with a most solemn note of 
warning to the wicked. " No peace, saith Jehovah, 
to the wicked." (i) xl-xlviii. The antithesis of Je- 
hovah and idols, Israel and the nations, ending with 
the knell of judgment, "There is no peace, saith the 
Lord, to the wicked." (2) xlix-lvii. The antithesis 
between the sufferings of the Servant of Jehovah and 
the glory which should follow, ending with a more 
emphatic note of warning than the former. " There 
is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." (3) Iviii- 
Ixvi. The antithesis between the hypocrites and 
the faithful, between the immoral and the self-indul- 
gent, and the mourners and the persecuted for 
righteousness' sake, between the world of sin and 
sorrow that now is, and the world of blessedness and 
holiness and purity which is to be, ending with the 
heaviest note of judgment of all, " For their worm 
shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, 
and they shall be an abhorring to all flesh." 

The central theme of the first division of these 
magnificent predictions is comfort, the comfort of the 
Lord's people in prospect of their exile and suffer- 
ing at Babylon, and the assurance of their deliver- 
ance and restoration through God's chosen instru- 
ment and servant, Cyrus the Persian. The central 
theme of the second division is the Servant of 


Jehovah, the promised Messiah, who by His first 
advent in humiliation will bring in everlasting 
righteousness and salvation for God's people, and 
who by His second advent will introduce millennial 
and eternal glory. And the central theme of the 
third division is the realization of the promised 

Broadly, therefore, we say that the book of Isaiah 
is made up of seven grand divisions, three in Part I., 
one in the four historical chapters, and three in Part 
III., chaps, xl-lxvi. 

About the question of the unity of Isaiah, contro- 
versy rages. Believers in the plenary, verbal inspira- 
tion of the Bible insist that the Prophet Isaiah, son 
of Amoz, is the author of the book that bears his 
name. This the higher critics strenuously deny. 
One of them (Ewald) imagines he can trace seven 
different hands in its composition. The majority, 
however, content themselves with asserting a two- 
fold authorship, viz.: Proto-Isaiah, chaps, i-xxxix, 
probably written by the prophet; and Deutero-Isaiah, 
chaps, xl-lxvi, by the " Great Unknown," i. e., by 
some very remarkable prophet who lived during the 
time of the exile at Babylon and about the time of 
Cyrus. Difference of style used to be urged as a 
strong argument in support of this theory, but it is 
now almost entirely abandoned. The arguments 
now advanced are briefly these: ( I ) In Isaiah xl-lxvi, 
the writer speaks as if he were actually living in the 
times he describes. (2) It is not the ordinary method 
of prophecy to enter into detail, and minutely describe 
events, as is done in these chapters. (3) The cap- 
tivity, the fall of Babylon, Cyrus, Messiah's suffer- 
ing and Israel's restoration, are all given with such 

ISAIAH. 227 

minuteness of detail as to preclude the belief that 
Isaiah, the son of Amoz, who lived some 170 years 
before could have been the author. Something of 
the true nature of the higher criticism is thus dis- 
closed. It virtually denies that the prophets of God 
foretold anything future which was disconnected 
with their own times. That the prophet Isaiah, the 
son of Amoz, is the author of the whole book is 
firmly held by the present writer. The reasons for 
this belief are for him amply sufficient, amounting 
to a demonstration. Only some of them are here 

1 I ) The novelty of the theory makes against it. 
For seventeen hundred years and more it was never 
heard of among the scholars of the church. One 
Jew, of the twelfth century, Aben Ezra, was the only 
writer, so far as is now known, that ever broached 
it. In fact, the theory is hardly a hundred years 
old. It would be well for us to bear in mind the old 
adage, " what is true is not new; and what is new is 
not true." 

(2) The gross ignorance of the critics as to the 
4 Great Unknown" makes against the theory. Con- 
sider how forcible this argument becomes, had we 
the space and the time to draw it out in its full 
strength. Here is a writing the most transcendently 
eloquent, comforting, instructive, impressive, forma- 
tive, and influential of the Old Testament prophet- 
ical Scriptures if we except Daniel; chaps, xlii, liii, 
Ix, Ixi, etc., have swayed the thought and animated 
the hope and encouraged the faith of God's people, 
both Israelitish and Christian, for centuries. It up- 
held the exiles at Babylon; it led Cyrus to issue his 
decree for the return of the captives; it kept bright 


the expectation in pious Jewish hearts of the coming 
of Messiah; it has led many a sinner to the Saviour. 
And yet nobody knows who wrote it! It is the pro- 
duct of the " Great Unknown." 

(3) The Septuagint version knows no other author 
of the book than Isaiah. Yet this ancient transla- 
tion, B. C. 250, and earlier, does not hesitate to 
ascribe the various Psalms to different authors, as, 
e. g., David, Asaph, Jeremiah, Haggai, Ethan, etc.; 
but makes no hint of a composite composition of 

(4) The son of Sirach, author of the apocryphal 
book of Ecclesiasticus, about B. C. 180, definitely 
ascribes this portion of the book (xl-lxvi) to Isaiah, 
the prophet, and speaks of him in such fashion as to 
preclude the idea that any other than he was ever 
conjectured to be the author of it. 

(5) Cyrus' decree, Ez. i, I, 2, is proof that the sec- 
tion of Isaiah under inspection was written before 
the captivity. In it the monarch refers to the word- 
ing of the prophecies concerning himself, Is. xliv, 
27, 28; xlv, 1-3. The words of the edict are copied 
from these passages. Now is it credible that Cyrus 
would be influenced so powerfully as to issue his 
proclamation thus worded if the prophecy were ut- 
tered in his own day and by a contemporary? Jo- 
sephus testifies that these prophecies concerning 
himself were shown Cyrus, and it was on account of 
them he published his decree for the Jews' return, 
and for the rebuilding of the temple. 

(6) The historical chapters, xxxviii, xxxix, pre- 
pare the way for chaps, xl-lxwi, and in reality assert 
the connection of Hezekiah and Isaiah with them. 
11 All that is in thine house shall be carried to Baby- 

ISAIAH. 229 

Ion, and thy sons shall be eunuchs in the king's palace." 
(7) The witness of the New Testament to the 
Isaian authorship of these disputed chapters is ex- 
plicit and abundant. According to Westcott and 
Hort the whole book of Isaiah is quoted and referred 
to more than 210 times; chaps, xl-lxvi more than one 
hundred times. These references and quotations 
are varied, specific and inexplicable save on the sup- 
position that the New Testament writers knew no 
author of the book except the son of Amoz. With 
them the book is no compilation; they recognize no 
" hand " in it but that of Isaiah. With them the 
book is the words of the prophet Isaiah, who spoke 
by the Holy Spirit. Matthew declares that the 
writer of chapter forty-two was Isaiah, Matt, xii, 17, 
1 8. Luke testifies that chapter fifty-three was writ- 
ten by Isaiah, Acts viii, 28-35; that chapter sixty-one 
was written by Isaiah, Lu. iv, 17. Paul ascribes 
chapters fifty-three and sixty-five to the same 
prophet, Rom. x, 16, 20. Let it also be particularly 
noted that in every possible way the New Testament 
writers attribute the entire book to Isaiah. They 
speak of him again and again as "the prophet 
Isaiah," "Isaiah, the prophet," Matt, iii, 3; viii, 7, 
etc., i. e., when they would make prominent the man 
Isaiah they give first his name and second his official 
title; when the office of the man is to be emphasized 
the title precedes and his name follows. They men- 
tion, too, " the book of the prophet Isaiah," Lu. iv, 
17; and "the book of the words of Isaiah the 
prophet," Lu. iii, 4, etc. That is, the inspired writers 
of the New Testament distinguish between the 
"book of Isaiah" and the " prophet Isaiah" who 
wrote the book. 


Prophecy deals mainly with three subjects which 
are inseparably connected, viz.: Israel, Messiah, and 
the kingdom of God. That all three are conspicu- 
ously found in this book even the most cursory 
reader sees. It would be difficult to determine 
which has the larger place. Read from one point of 
view Isaiah appears to be wholly absorbed with the 
fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem; whatever else is 
introduced is subordinate or incidental. From an- 
other it is the promised Deliverer, the mighty Serv- 
ant of Jehovah, who fills the entire horizon of the 
prophetic vision, in whom every promise and pur- 
pose of God shall have its ample accomplishment. 

I. The prophet foretells the Messiah's incarna- 
tion, vii, 14. That this prediction relates to the 
Lord Jesus Christ is manifest from Matt, i, 18-25. 
No child of ordinary birth can be meant by the 
prophet, for He is to be the child of "the virgin," 
certainly of an unmarried female. He is to bear the 
great name Immanuel, " with us God." It should 
be borne in mind that from the very beginning the 
Messiah was to be the offspring in an extraordinary 
sense of the woman, Gen. iii, 25. Difficulties, it is 
freely acknowledged, envelop this prediction, nor 
can any attempt now be made to clear them away. 
The words of a profound student of the Bible (Prof. 
Cave) are worth quoting: " This Deliverer, the 
Branch of the Lord, is afterward announced as the 
Son of a virgin, before whose birth the two Hebrew 
kingdoms shall have ceased to be monarchies." 
Whatever interpretation be adopted, it must satisfy 
these conditions: (i) It must yield a sense worthy 
of the grandeur of verse eleven; (2) the Child must 
be of David's house, and the glory of it; (3) He must 

ISAIAH. 231 

be divine as His name Immanuel asserts; (4) His 
dignity must be superhuman. 

2.. The dignity of His person is announced by the 
sublime titles given Him, ix, 6. What a group of 
names is here found! He is identified with our race, 
for He is " a child born, a son given," the Son of 
man. But He is much more, He is God. He is 
wonderful in His person, work, love and grace; the 
counsellor the prophet, greater than Moses, Isaiah, 
Daniel, than any and all the prophets; the Revealer 
of the Father, Jno. i, 18; the mighty God, Himself 
God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father; the 
Father of eternity, the Maker of heaven and earth, 
the Prince of Peace, the promised Shiloh, Gen. xlix, 
10; Lu. ii, 10-14. 

3. He is to be of the house of David and sit on 
David's throne, ix, 7; xi, i; and He will be endowed 
with all the gifts and powers needed for the univer- 
sal government which He is to sway, xi, 2-4. 

4. His forerunner and harbinger is foretold, xl, 
3-5; comp. Matt, iii, 1-3. John was only a voice, 
what every preacher of Christ should be. 

5. The character of His ministry and His quali- 
fications for its execution are described, xlii, 1-7. 
What wisdom and grace, what tenderness and power, 
courage and humility, lowliness and loftiness, stoop- 
ing and conquering are here predicted of Him. 

6. His prophetic office is announced, Ixi, 1-3. In 
Luke iv, 18, 19, our Lord read these words in the 
synagogue at Nazareth; but it is very noteworthy 
that He stopped short in the second verse at a 
comma, "To preach the acceptable year of the 
Lord," He could not add, " And the day of venge- 
ance of our God;" for that day was not come, nor is 


it yet. Our whole dispensation of grace lies in that 
comma. How infinitely accurate is Scripture! 

7. The priestly office is foretold, chap. liii. Let 
us note some things from this amazing chapter: 

I. He is to be a suffering Messiah, vss. 1-3. 
" Dispised," " rejected," " man of sorrows," grief- 
smitten, " like one from whom men hide their 

II. Messiah's sufferings vicarious. There are at 
least twelve assertions of this truth: (i) "Borne our 
griefs;" (2) " carried our sorrows;" (3) " wounded 
for our trangessions;" (4) bruised for our iniquities;" 
(5) "chastisement of our peace;" (6) " His stripes;" 
(7) "Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all;" (8) 
" For the transgression;" (9) "it pleased the Lord 
to bruise Him;" (10) " soul an offering for sin;" (n) 
"bear their iniquities;" (12) " bear the sin of many." 
How any one in the face of this Scripture can deny 
the substitutionary nature of Christ's atonement is 
almost incredible. 

III. His sufferings propitiatory. This truth lies 
in the four expressions as to bearing sin: 

1. Ver. 6, "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity 
of us all." 

2. Ver 10, "Thou shalt make His soul an offering 
for sin." 

3. Ver. II, " He shall bear their iniquities." 

4. Ver. 12, " He shall bear the sin of many,", 2 
Cor. v, 21. 

Israel's Restoration, Isa. xi, 11, 12, 15, 1 6. The lan- 
guage of the prophet is precise. He announces, or 
rather the Spirit of the Lord by him, that the " Lord 
shall set His hand again the second time to recover 
the remnant of His people." "The second time" 

ISAIAH. 233 

cannot be the first time. It is a future restoration 
that is meant; and it is still future, unless, as many 
think, it is already begun in the marvelous events of 
our own days touching this strange, indestructible 
people. How they are to be brought back again to 
their own land and to the favor and blessing of God; 
how the " land " (Palestine) is to become fertile be- 
yond all antecedence; how the whole world is to 
share in Israel's blessing, is fully foretold by Isaiah, 
ii, 1-5; xi; xxxv; xlix, 22, 23; Ixii, 4; xxvii, 6; Ixvi, 
19, 20, etc. 

Promises respecting the Gentiles, xi, I, 10; (cf. Rom. 
xv, 12); Ixi, i, 6; (cf. Matt, xii, 17-21); xlix, 6; Ix, 3; 
(cf. Lu. ii, 32; Acts xiii, 47). 

Millennial Blessedness. No prophet of the Old 
Testament is so full of this most attractive subject 
as Isaiah; none gives us so comprehensive a view of 
it. The vast cosmical changes which accompany its 
introduction; the revolution in all the ways and 
habits of men it involves, and its characteristic feat- 
ures, are the themes of this matchless pen. A 
meager outline of some of the more prominent 
things connected with it is here given. 

1. Binding and imprisonment of Satan, the cause 
of the world's woe, xxiv, 21, 22; xxvii, i; cf. Rev. 
xx, 1-3. We may be quite sure that no reign of 
peace and bliss is possible for the earth so long as 
this strong, fierce spirit is loose. 

2. War shall cease, nor be learned or practiced 
more, ii, 4; ix, 5. Most graphic is the last sentence 
above quoted, "And every garment rolled in blood 
shall be for burning, even fuel for the fire." It is es- 
timated that there are now under arms in Europe 
more than five millions of men, with ten millions of 


reserves, all ready to fly at each other's throats at 
the bidding of their masters. The world-power, 
though Christian in name, is still a wild, ferocious 

3. Antagonisms between man and man, and be- 
tween man and the lower animals will be removed, 
and harmony, universal and unbroken, will prevail, 
xi, 6-9; Ixv, 25. It will hardly do to say, as some do, 
that this explicit prediction as to the removal of 
hostility between animals means peace among na- 
tions and communities of men. For this is in addi- 
tion to predictions of harmony among men. What 
is meant is, that man's supremacy over the lower 
creation will, in that day, be like what it was before 
the fall of Adam; creation will be restored to its 
original harmony as the final outcome of God's work 
of redemption, (cf. Rom. viii, 19-23). 

4. The " outcast of Israel," and the " dispersed of 
Judah," gathered once more into their own land from 
all the countries whither they have been scattered, 
will be converted to God in a supernatural manner, 
and become a source of blessing to the whole world, 
xi, 10-16; xxvi, 13-16; xxvii, 12, 13; xlix, 12, 22,23; 
lix, 20; Ixvi, 7-12. 

5. The resurrection of Israel's faithful dead, as 
likewise that of Gentile believers (i Thess. iv, 13,18; 
I Cor. xv), to share the joy of the world's redemp- 
tion will be another glad triumph of that day, xxvi, 
19; cf. Dan. xii, 1-3; Ezek. xxxvii, 12; Hos. xiii, 14, 

6. Patriarchal years will return, Ixv, 20. "Life 
will be protracted to its full measure, so that he who 
dies at the age of one hundred years will be regarded 
as having died young, and the sinner on whom the 

ISAIAH. 235 

curse or punishment of God falls will at least have 
his one hundred years of life." Sin and death will 
still exist in that blissful day, but according to the 
plain teaching of Isaiah they will be the exception 
and not the rule as now, xxv, 6-9; xxvi, 1-4; 
xxxv, 10. 

7. There will be a seven-fold fullness and increase 
of light, solar and lunar, in that day, xxx, 26; Ix, 
19, 20. 

Such are some of the glories God has promised 
for His ancient people, Israel, for the Gentiles who 
call on His name, and for the earth itself. It is the 
grand jubilee of the whole world we await. As cer- 
tain as God has spoken it will be realized. How 
near it may be we cannot compute. 

Isaiah's admonitions to the nations are most solemn. 
He reveals this great principle of the divine govern- 
ment, viz., that those nations which were employed 
to chastise the chosen people were held as guilty be- 
fore Him. In every instance they exceeded their 
commission, they refused to show mercy to the cap- 
tives; they executed their own cruel will on the 
helpless, and so in turn they were punished, xiii,xiv, 
xxi, xxxiii, xlvii, 6. Assyria's overthrow, Babylon's 
fall, and Egypt's humiliation are ascribed to their 
unmerciful treatment of Israel; and yet they were all 
used as His rods for the correction of his people. 

Before we leave the book of Isaiah some of the 
predictions with which it abounds and their fulfill- 
ment may be adverted to. 

I. The fall of Babylon and its subsequent desola- 
tion, xiii. So explicit is this event described by the 
spirit of prophecy that it might appropriately be 
qalled history written beforehand. The army which 


is to accomplish this task is summoned from the 
mountains, from a distant land, vs. 4 Persia, no 
doubt, is meant. But Persia is not to act alone; 
other peoples join the mustering squadrons, Media 
more especially, vs. 17. The Lord of hosts calls 
them to execute His judgments on the guilty city, 
vss. 2, 3, n, 19; and the earth trembles beneath the 
tread of marching men in response. It is declared 
that fear shall take possession of the doomed city; 
panic-stricken, it shall make no defence, vs. 8. How 
exactly this was fulfilled Daniel assures us, Dan. v. 
The consternation which seized the king on the 
night of Babylon's assault is read in the graphic 
words of Daniel, v, 6, " his knees smote one against 
another." " On that night was Belshazzar the king 
of the Chaldeans slain." Turn to the prediction of 
Babylon's desolations, Is. xiii. " It shall never be 
inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from genera- 
tion to generation," vs. 20. Absolute loss of inhab- 
itants is announced. Cities dwindle and decay; com- 
plete solitudes few of them ever become. A village 
crowns the hill formed by the ruins of Sennacherib's 
palace at Nineveh (Rawlinson); Arab huts are found 
clinging about the majestic ruins at Karnack and 
Luxor in Egypt; Tanis, the seat of government of 
Rameses II., the Pharaoh of the oppression and of 
his successor, lives in the mud hovels of San; Da- 
mascus, almost as old as Babylon; Athens, Rome, 
ancient likewise, remain to this day; but the great 
capital of the Chaldean Empire has no inhabitant 
Strabo, writing in the age of Augustus, could say, 
" the great city has become a great solitude." Ben- 
jamin of Tudela, writing in the twelfth, and Maunde- 
ville in the fourteenth centuries said the same, the 

ISAIAH. 237 

latter testifying, " It is alle deserte, and fulle of 
dragons and grete serpentes." The accounts of 
modern explorers are similar. " The site of Baby- 
lon is a naked and a hideous waste" (Loftus). 

"Neither shall the Arabian pitch his tent there; 
neither shall the shepherds make their folds there," 
vs. 20. On the actual ruins of Babylon the Arabian 
neither pitches his tent nor pastures his flocks, be- 
cause the nitrous soil produces no pasture to tempt 
him (Rawlinson), and because he believes it is the 
" abode of evil spirits " (Rich). 

" But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, owls, 
satyrs (probably jackals; the word means hairy ones), 
dragons," vss. 21, 22. Everyone of these particulars 
is fulfilled to this day, if the jackal is included in 
the enumeration. Lions, owls, serpents have been 
seen there, the only inhabitants of the once proud 
and splendid city. To the very letter has the pre- 
diction been accomplished. 

2. The fall of Babylon, chap. xxi. This prediction 
differs widely from that of chapter thirteen. We 
are told that it is the Medo-Persian army that is to 
capture the Chaldean capital, vs. 2. It is to take 
place at the time of a feast, vs. 5 (cf. Dan. v). The 
steady advance of the hostile army with its battalions 
of horses, battalions of asses, and of camels is seen 
by the watchman, vs. *j. Herodotus tells us the Per- 
sian army had just such adjuncts as are here men- 
tioned. Finally there is the sudden cry of the capt- 
ure and overthrow, " Babylon is fallen, is fallen," vs. 
9; and her chief gods, Bel, Nebo, and Merodach are 
forever discredited. The absolute accuracy of the 
prediction is fully attested by the history of Baby- 
lon's fall. It came about as here foretold. 


3. Prediction of Cyrus, xliv, 28; xlv, I. His name 
was given by the prophet, his special service desig- 
nated, viz., rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple, long 
before he had existence. Josephus writes, "When, 
therefore, Cyrus had read this, and marveled at the 
divinity, a kind of impulse and ambition seized upon 
him to fulfill what was written." None but the Om- 
niscient could have known the person and the name 
of him who was to conquer Babylon and deliver the 
chosen people. 

4. The gates of Babylon to be open for Cyrus' en- 
trance, xlv, I. History relates that on the night of 
the capture this actually occurred. Marching into 
the heart of the city by the river channel, which he 
had drained, Cyrus found the gates open, and ingress 
unobstructed. Thus the accuracy of accomplish- 
ment attests the divine character of prophecy. 

Note Isaiah's denunciation of idols, xl. He at- 
tacks them with argument, proves them to be mere 
things, futile, lifeless things. He pours contempt 
on them, scathes them with irony, blasts them with 
ridicule, explodes infinite laughter upon them. 
Nothing can exceed the exquisite sarcasm with 
which he describes the manufacture of idols, xl, 19, 
20. The rich man employs a goldsmith to fashion 
for him a metal god. A poor man, unable to pay 
for so costly a divinity, selects a good hard stick of 
timber on which he sets to work a skilled mechanic; 
and presto! has, to his unspeakable delight, a 
wooden god. And then the blazing contrast he 
draws between these scornful things and the living 
God who bends the blue dome over our heads and 
suspends the world on His arm, and feeds the creat- 
ures thereof with His hands how the miserable 

ISAIAH. 239 

dumb idols shrivel into nothing in such a Presence. 

Note also the power of prayer. Two instances are 
given: one, in the destruction of the Assyrian army, 
chap, xxxvii. " One night intervened between a 
mighty host and nothing," the fathers used to say. 

The other relates to Hezekiah's sickness and re- 
covery, xxxviii. Yet prayer for prolonged life may 
be a mistake. The king's most serious blunder, if 
not sin, took place after his miraculous restoration 
to health, xxxix, cf. 2 Chron. xxxii, 24-31. Pro- 
longed life, health, prosperity, may not be the best 
things for us after all. For prosperity of soul we 
may always ask; for uninterrupted bodily health, we 
are incompetent to judge. 


The books of the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah are 
as different as they can well be. The divergence 
between them is not simply one of style, but one of 
aim and contents. Isaiah clearly foresaw the defec- 
tion and apostasy of the people of Judah, and their 
captivity; but he was removed from the final catas- 
trophe by a hundred years or more. Jeremiah lived 
and prophesied at the time of the end. He saw the 
fall of the throne of David, the spoliation of the city 
and the temple by the strong and pitiless arms of the 
Babylonians, and the exile of the greater part of the 
chosen people. It seemed as if irreparable ruin had 
come, that God Himself had forsaken the children 
of the covenant, ignored His own promises, and 
given over His heritage to the " boar of the forest and 
to the beast of the field." This, mainly, constitutes 
the burden of Jeremiah's prophecies and distin- 
guishes them. His ministry was exercised amid 
deepening^apostasy, judgment and disaster. 

Jeremiah was by birth a priest, and dwelt at the 
priestly town of Anathoth, I Chron. vi, 60, a few 
miles north of Jerusalem in the territory of Benja- 
min. His father's name was Hilkiah, who is not to 
be identified with the high priest of that name. It 
seems, however, that the prophet belonged to an in- 
fluential family from the respect shown him by suc- 
cessive rulers, as Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, Ahikam 


and Gedaliah, the viceroys of the king of Babylon. 
His uncle Shallum was the husband of Huldah the 
prophetess. His friend and cousin, Hanameel, was 
their son. Baruch was his constant companion and 
scribe or amanuensis. 

His call to the office of prophet was as distinct 
and as remarkable as that of Isaiah, i, 5. We learn 
from this striking verse that his designation to the 
office by the Lord antedated his birth. No event or 
exigency in the life of the individual and of the na- 
tion finds God unprepared. He had His chosen in- 
struments ready to meet every emergency in the 
history of His people Israel. The fall was not a 
surprise to God, nor was redemption an after- 
thought. " He never is before His time, He never 
is too late." 

Jeremiah's qualifications for the office of prophet 
like those of all the other prophets, were directly 
from God. He received both the message and the 
gift from Him, i, 5-10. By the touch of the divine 
hand there was imparted to him the revelation from 
the Lord and the power to deliver it to others. The 
action symbolized the communication of a message 
and the power of speech. Like Moses, like Isaiah, 
like all truly great and noble souls, Jeremiah was 
distinguished for his humility and native modesty. 
Very great ability, genius, is unaffected, is child-like. 
The highest attainment of Christianity is a glorified 
childhood (Tholuck). In simple, childlike ingen- 
uousness Jeremiah made answer to God's call, "Ah! 
Lord God! behold, I cannot speak; for I am a 

The time of his ministry is distinctly stated in 
chap, i, 1-3. These verses are not an introduction 


to the first chapter, but to the entire book, and they 
are also the authentication of all that follows. They 
are the great seal which the Spirit of God has set 
upon the words which He has given us through the 
mouth of His servant Jeremiah. His ministry began 
in the reign of Josiah, and continued for some time 
after the revolt of Zedekiah and the disasters which 
followed. The estimates as to its length vary by 
about ten years: Plumptre, B. C. 638-588; Home, 
B. C. 628-586; Angus, B. C. 629-585. Something over 
forty years he exercised the office of prophet. 

Three events of world-wide importance transpired 
during the life time of Jeremiah. The first was the 
battle between the armies of Judah and of Pharaoh- 
Necho at Carchemish at which Josiah lost his life, 
2 Chron. xxxv, 20-25. Never perhaps has there been 
such profound and universal mourning for the death 
of a ruler. The sorrow of our country for the death 
of President Lincoln, the sorrow of England for the 
Prince Consort, or that of Germany for Frederick, 
was deep, but not so d eep nor so lasting as that for 
Josiah. The penitential mourning of Israel at their 
conversion is compared to this sorrow, Zech xii, n 
One of the most pathetic elegies ever uttered was 
pronounced over the dead monarch by the most 
plaintive of prophets, Jeremiah. With the death 
of Josiah the noblest and most faithful spirit of the 
kings of Judah likewise expired. From that period 
the degeneracy of the kingdom was rapid. It was 
Jeremiah's lot to prophesy at a time when all things 
in Judah were rushing down to the final and mourn- 
ful catastrophe; when political excitement was at its 
height; when the worst passions swayed the various 
parties and the most fatal counsels prevailed. It was 


his to stand in the way over which his nation was 
rushing headlong to destruction; to make a heroic 
effort to arrest it and to turn it back; and to fail, 
and be compelled to step to one side and see his 
own people whom he loved with the tenderness of a 
woman plunge over the precipice into the wide, 
weltering ruin. 

The second event was a second battle at 
Carchemish between the Egyptian and Babylonian 
forces, the latter led by Nebuchadnezzar. In this 
engagement the Egyptians were totally defeated, 
and Syria and Palestine fell under the power of 
Babylon. The battle took place in the third year of 
Jehoiakim, according to Dan. i, I, and was followed 
by the first deportation of Jews to Babylon. Jere- 
miah prophesied of the disastrous consequences of 
this battle to Egypt, xlvi, 1-12. In B. C. 609 Baby- 
lon had two powerful rivals, Assyria and Egypt. In 
604 B. C. it had the undisputed mastery of the East. 

The third event of Jeremiah's time was the capture 
of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, the destruction of 
Jerusalem and the temple, and the exile of the 
major part of the people to Babylon. The fall of a 
great state is an epoch in the history of the world. 
The fall of Babylon and Egypt and Rome was of 
immense significance. But the fall of Jerusalem and 
the Jewish state, both the first and the second time 
the one time by the Chaldeans, and the other by 
the Romans affected the whole race of man as no 
other national disaster ever has. The ministry of 
Jeremiah is one of extraordinary interest from the 
fact that he was associated most intimately with the 
close of the kingdom of Judah. He is the connect- 
ing link and the bond between the old and the new, 


the monarchy and the dependency into which Judah 
sank after the captivity. What Jerome Savonarola 
was to the Roman Catholic church when sinking to 
the lowest point of infamy under Alexander VI., 
that, and much more, Jeremiah was to Judah in the 
closing years of the monarchy. His task was hard, 
thankless; his life one of contention and strife; but 
faithfully he finished his work and received his re- 

It happens always that when a state becomes in- 
volved in difficulties, when its affairs are entangled 
and ruin threatens, the people range themselves into 
contending and hostile parties. So it transpired in 
the closing days of the kingdom of Judah; much 
more so was it in the last years of Jerusalem in the 
first century of the Christian era. The nation split 
into fierce factions; each denounced the other as the 
chief cause of all their woes. Mutual distrust broke 
up families, divided friends, made a man's enemies 
those of his own household. Every one had to take 
heed to his neighbor and suspect his brother, Jer. 
ix, 4; xii, 6. 

Amid such contending factions Jeremiah's life was 
spent. We do not know that he ever saw a day of 
true rest, of peaceful quiet. He knew not but that 
he should seal his testimony with his blood at any 
time. Yet he never quailed before the factions that 
clamored for his life, nor faltered in duty when to 
announce the tremendous judgments of God mad- 
dened his countrymen to desperation. It is strange 
that so many writers of modern times regard Jere- 
miah as weak, feeble-minded," almost cowardly. 
We have no sympathy with such unworthy and in- 
adequate opinions of him. His ministry was one of 


admonition and antagonism, i, 17, 18. Against the 
whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the 
princes, against the priests, against the prophets he 
was to stand. He was to gird up his loins and arise 
and speak all that God commanded him. He was to 
be the solitary fortress, the column of iron, the wall 
of brass, fearless, undismayed in any presence; the 
one grand, immovable figure who pursued the apos- 
tatizing people and rulers, delivering his message in 
the temple court or the royal chamber or the street, 
whether they would hear or forbear. Inconsequence 
he was the prophet of unwelcome truths, hated of 
all, but feared as well by all. It was a mission re- 
quiring courage, faith, strength, will; a mission no 
weakling could fill, no coward would undertake. 
Jeremiah is one of the very great men of the world. 

His prevailing tone is that of sadness. The song 
he sings is keyed in the minor. He is the dirge-poet 
of Israel. He composed the national requiem of his 
people, and his own also. His style is not so lofty 
as that of Isaiah; he does not rise so high, nor is his 
flight so sustained. Isaiah is the royal poet who 
sails aloft on powerful wing into the azure deeps 
above; Jeremiah wings a lower flight, with measured 
beat and slow, the very movement indicating the 
mournful nature of his theme. 

Another thing to be noted is the personal charac- 
ter of his writing. No writer of the Old Testament 
enters so largely into his own composition as this 
prophet. His personal affairs are not meant. He 
never alludes to his private history except where 
the nature of a given narrative requires it. Never- 
theless, his inner and outer life is woven into his 
prophecies. The man himself with his sorrows and 


woes, with his sensibilities always bleeding, with his 
disappointments and his blasted affections weeping 
out their life in silent injury, is ever before us as we 
read. The causes of his profound grief are not hard 
to find. His love for his people was one source. 
This is very striking; it reminds one of Moses and 
Paul. The prophet stands ready to make any sacri- 
fice, to endure any pain, if thereby the people, his 
people, are reformed and restored. The lamenta- 
tions are a proof of it. But then it is hopeless, as 
he well knows. Every effort to lead them back to 
God and to set them in the right place before Him, 
he saw was vain. They rejected the divine testi- 
mony, they would none of his counsel. God no 
longer hearkened to prayer for Judah. The end was 
drawing on apace. Jeremiah prophesies under this 
impression. A sorrowful task, a hopeless love. No 
wonder he longed for " a lodge in some vast wilder- 
ness " that he might leave his people and go from 
them, ix, 2. No wonder that he never married, that 
he would ask no woman to share the intolerable bur- 
den that weighed on his heart. Like Job he poured 
bitter imprecations on the day of his birth, xx, 14- 
18; was tortured with doubt as to the word of the 
Lord to himself, xxi, 7, 8. He is the " prophet of 
the broken heart." Who can forget the exquisite 
pathos with which he weeps over Judah, viii, 21, 22; 
ix, I, 22. How much of genuine patriotism breathes 
in those tender words, " Weep ye not for the dead, 
neither bemoan him; but weep sore for him that 
goeth away: for he shall return no more, nor see his 
native country," xxii, 10. One cannot but see in 
Jeremiah something of the Spirit of Christ. Indeed, 
it is not too much to say that on a small scale that 


Life which is above all other lives is reproduced in 
this prophet. Jeremiah's love for his people, his 
anxiety to do them good and naught but good, his 
tears at the defeat of his efforts to reclaim them, and 
the hopefulness with which he looks forward to their 
final recovery and blessing, are but a dim reflection 
of what was perfect in the heart of the Lord Jesus. 
Grace and the Spirit of God will make any one like 

It is no easy task to give anything like a satisfac- 
tory analysis of these prophecies. It is well known 
that the order in the Septuagint version differs con- 
siderably from that found in the Hebrew Bible, 
chaps, xlvi-lii, being inserted after chap, xxv, 13, as 
also other changes. It is next to impossible to de- 
termine whether the Septuagint is translated from a 
different recension of the text from that of our 
Bible and an older arrangement of the prophecies, 
or whether they attempted to introduce an order ac- 
cording to their notions of the chronology of Jere- 
miah's utterances. At any rate in no other book is 
there so great variation. Two things should be borne 
in mind in reading Jeremiah: first, that the arrange- 
ment does not follow chronological order. This is 
evident from the introduction of the names of the 
kings (see xxxvii and xxxv, etc.). But this is not 
uncommon in Scripture. God often sets aside the 
natural sequence of events in favor of a moral 
sequence. Second, the arrangement seems to follow 
subjects. The prophecies are collated according to 
the themes and classed by thoughts rather than by 

A very general division is the following: Part I, 
chaps, i-xxiv, prophecies with reference to Judah, 


with historical matter. Part 2, chaps, xxv-xlv, 
prophecies of judgment and of comfort. Part 3, 
prophecies respecting various nations, chaps xlvi-li. 
Chapter fifty-two is a historical appendix, added by 
another hand, cf. 2 Kings xxiv, i8-xxv. 

A more particular analysis is submitted for the 
reader's aid: 

I. Chaps, i-xxxviii: Prophecies and historical 
passages regarding Judah and its kings to the cap- 
ture of Jerusalem. This section falls into two parts: 
(i) i-xxiv, wherein are pleadings with the people; 
sins rebuked, backsliding and apostasy exposed and 
denounced; repentance urged, with the sorrowful 
conviction on the part ot the prophet that every ap- 
peal is vain; (2) xxv-xxxviii, announcements of ap- 
proaching judgments and promises of assured 
blessing for the last days, chaps, xxxi, xxxii. 

II. Chaps, xxxix-xliv: Narrative, mingled with 
prophecies, after the fall of Jerusalem. 

III. Chapter forty-five stands by itself, and is a 
special word of comfort from the Lord to Baruch, 
Jeremiah's friend and scribe. In the midst of Judah's 
ruin and the crashing down of Jewish hopes, God 
turns aside to assuage the sorrow and dry the tears 
of Baruch. That is very precious. The individual, 
no matter how obscure, is not forgotten by the great 
God of heaven and earth, even in the midst of stu- 
pendous providences and overwhelming judgments. 
A word of admonition is addressed to him to which 
all may well give earnest heed: "And seekest thou 
great things for thyself? seek them not," vs. 5. A 
mighty word which Mr. Spurgeon tells us kept him 
in the ambitions of his youth. 

IV. Chaps, xlvi-li: Prophecies against certain 


Gentile nations. The doom of the following is pro- 
nounced: Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, 
Damascus, Kedar, Elam, Babylon. All these pre- 
dictions have been fulfilled. They were made when 
some of the nations against which they were spoken 
were at the zenith of their power. The majority 
of them were overrun and subjugated by Babylon, 
which in its turn was totally overthrown. 

Under five different kings Jeremiah carried on his 
difficult ministry, (i) During eighteen years or 
more (i, 2} of Josiah's reign he bore his testimony 
often with tears, always with anxious forebodings. 
It was a time of distress and anguish for the prophet. 
For although Josiah was one of the best kings that 
ever sat on the throne of David, nevertheless the 
great reformation which he promoted was largely an 
outward one. Hardly was the king's sad funeral 
over when the people hastened to revive the abom- 
inations which he had so nobly suppressed, 2 Kings 
xxiii, 30-37. And so Jeremiah utters that despairing 
cry which reveals how hopeless was any reform, the 
sins were so inveterate: " Can the Ethiopian change 
his skin, or the leopard his spots?" xiii, 23. (2) Dur- 
ing the reign of Jehoahaz, or Shallum as he is some- 
times called (Jer. xxii, n), which was very short. 
He was set up in opposition to Egypt, and was soon 
deposed by that power. (3) During the reign of 
Jehoiakim whom Pharoah substituted for Jehoahaz, 
2 King xxiii, 34, for ten years the prophet pursued 
his difficult work. Opposed by false prophets who 
pretended to have a " word from Jehovah," with the 
court and the nobles following Egypt's policy, Jere- 
miah contended for the reforms inaugurated by 
Josiah; pleaded, warned, entreated, wept, but to no 


purpose. Judah was bent on having her own way, 
and nothing could turn her from it. (4) During the 
brief reign of Jehoiakim, called also Coniah, Jer. 
xxii, 24, he witnessed for God, but the danger so 
long foretold at length came nigh. First the king 
and queen-mother, then nobles, artisans, princes, the 
worth and strength of the nation, were carried away 
into captivity, 2 Kings xxiv, 15, 16. (5) During the 
eleven years of Zedekiah whom Nebuchadnezzar 
had placed upon the throne, and who rebelled 
against his master in spite of all the threats and pre- 
dictions of the prophet, the final crushing blow fell, 
and Zedekiah lost his sons, his own eyes, the holy 
city and the state. 

After the destruction of Jerusalem the party ad- 
verse to Babylon determined to cast in their fortunes 
with Egypt. Jeremiah, who had remained in Judea 
after the final catastrophe, protested against the 
movement, and predicted its calamitous issue. But 
the obstinate party, blind to everything save what 
appeared to them their only safety, would not hear. 
They fled to Egypt, and carried Jeremiah with them. 
Tradition has it that he died there; one form of it 
narrating that for his faithfulness in prophesying 
against the idolatry of his countrymen he was stoned 
to death; another, that he repaired finally to Baby- 
lon where he died. But all is uncertain. 

The question may very properly be asked, Why 
did the prophet advocate submission to the Gentile 
king, and urge the opening of the city to him? xvii, 
12, 13, 17; xxxviii, 17-23. Does it not look like 
treason, at least like disloyalty to Jewish interests? 
It is quite evident throughout the later prophecies of 
Jeremiah that God had conferred universal power on 


Nebuchadnezzar, and he was to subdue all kingdoms 
to his rule. He is even called " God's servant," xxv, 
9; xxvii, 6. To resist him was to resist God. It was 
in virtue of Israel's failure that power passed into 
the hand of the king of Babylon, and from this 
point in human history the " times of the Gentiles " 
begin their course. But of this we shall have occa- 
sion to speak more at length when we reach the book 
of Daniel. It was because a new order of things 
was now to be inaugurated that the prophet ex- 
horted his people to submit to Nebuchadnezzar. 
According to Deu. xxxii, 8, the nations were orig- 
inally distributed with reference to Israel as the cen- 
ter. All were grouped about the center, cf. Ezek. v, 
5. Now this arrangement was to be broken up. 
Gentile supremacy, so long held in check, is to as- 
sert itself. It was God's doings. Hence submission 
to Nebuchadnezzar meant submission to the will of 

The vast majority of the predictions in the book 
of Jeremiah related to his own times, to the kings 
and people of Judah and of Babylon, and to the 
captivity and its attendant scenes. But there are 
some that belong to the distant future the future 
not only of Jeremiah, but also of us, for they are not 
yet fulfilled. Of some of these mention is now to be 

I. The Messiah. Jeremiah has not so much to 
announce of Him as Isaiah has, but he is not 
deficient touching this great hope. What he does 
disclose concerning Him is of the deepest impor- 
tance and very instructive. In chap, xxiii, 5, 6, we 
read, " Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I 
will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king 


shall reign and prosper and he shall be called ' The 
Lord our righteousness.' " In every way this is a 
very notable prediction. The King will be of the 
house of David, and prosperity shall attend His ad 
ministration, judgment and justice He shall execute 
in the earth. Just at the time of this prophecy the 
throne of David was imperilled, justice and equity 
were almost unknown, and wickedness was in the 
ascendent. But a better day approaches. The name 
of the King is a wonderful one, Jehovah Tsidkenu 
the Lord our righteousness. The name in this case, 
as in the similar instances, is in reality a sentence 
expressing a great truth: The Lord (is) our right- 
eousness. Jehovah-Nissi (Ex. xvii, 15); Jehovah- 
Shammah (Ezek. xlviii, 35); Jehovah-Jireh (Gen. xii, 
14), and this name in Jeremiah, are all promises and 
also revelations of the character and fidelity of God. 
Here we have the humanity of the Savior predicted 
as the descendent of David, and His Godhead like- 
wise in the majestic name given Him. Christ our 
Righteousness is an all-sufficient answer to the 
claims of law and justice upon us, and to our deep 
need. Luther once said, " Your menaces and ter- 
rors, domine Satan, trouble me not; for there is one 
whose name is called the Lord our Righteousness on 
whom I believe. He it is who hath abrogated the 
law, condemned sin, abolished death, destroyed hell, 
and is a satan to thee, O satan." John Trapp thinks 
this sentence of Luther's is of so much worth that 
rather than be without it one should " fetch it on his 
knees from Rome to Jerusalem." 

2. Restoration of Israel, xxxi. This is repeatedly 
promised in Jeremiah and secured by the most 
solemn asseverations which can be used, but it is 


minutely described in this and the following chap- 
ter. The reason of their restoration is disclosed, 
vs. 3, viz., the unalterable love of God. The extent 
of the regathering is foretold, vss. 8, 31; from every 
quarter of the earth both the house of Israel and the 
house of Judah will be brought back again. With 
deep penitence and supplications for their sins will 
they come, the Lord Himself leading them, vs. 9. 
Scarcely anything can exceed the pathos, the exqui- 
site tenderness with which the penitents and their 
Redeemer talk together, as it is foretold in vss. 18- 
20. Of course this is true of all genuine repentance, 
but it will most emphatically be true in restored 
Israel, Zech. xii, 11-14. A new covenant is made 
with them in the day they return to God, vss. 31-37. 
That we may be assured that the covenant was not 
fulfilled at the return from the Babylonian exile, it is 
quoted once and again in the New Testament and 
distinctly applied to the Jews of the future, Rom. xi, 
26,27; Heb. viii, 8-13; x, 16, 17. A still more con- 
vincing proof of the restoration is given in chap, 
xxxii, 6-15, the account of the purchase of Hana- 
meel's land by Jeremiah. The Chaldeans were lay- 
ing siege to the city; and that they would capture it 
the prophet very well knew. And yet he is bidden 
buy his cousin's field, pay the money for it, for God 
gave him the assurance that in due time the people 
would be restored to their inheritance. Abraham 
bought a field for his dead; Jeremiah bought one for 
a nation yet unborn. God led him to commit him- 
self openly to the faith of Israel's final restoration. 

3. Symbolic acts. Jeremiah indulges in many such 
and each of them has a significant prophetic mean- 
ing. Ezekiel is fonder of them than Jeremiah. In- 


struction by symbolic action is common in Oriental 
countries, however strange and even childish it may 
appear to the matter-of-fact dwellers in western 
lands. Southern Italians often will carry on a con- 
versation by pantomime, not an audible word being 
spoken. Much more does such method of commu- 
nication prevail in the Levant. 

One of these striking acts of the prophet is re- 
corded in chapter thirteen of our book. It is the 
account of his hiding by divine command a linen 
girdle in a cleft of a rock by the river Euphrates. 
The narrative tells us that the prophet did so, twice 
making the journey to the designated point. Con- 
siderable discussion has arisen among interpreters 
as to the reality of this transaction. From several 
considerations we believe that he actually performed 
what is here described. The only question of diffi- 
culty is as to the word rendered Euphrates (P'rath). 
Almost invariably it means the ancient river on 
which the Chaldean capital was situated. Some, 
however, contend that the word indicates some place 
near Jerusalem. It should be borne in mind that 
after Jehoiakim cut the prophetic roll into strips 
with his penknife and burnt the strips in the brazier 
at his feet, the prophet disappeared from Jerusalem, 
and for a period of nearly seven years his where- 
abouts is unknown. It is altogether probable that 
during that time he may have been once and again 
in the region of Babylon, at least of the Euphrates 

Another most significant act of his was that of 
breaking the earthen bottle in the valley of Hinnom 
in the presence of the priest and elders, chap. xix. 
Most impressive must have been the lesson the 
prophet intended to enforce, when he dashed the 


jar to the ground in their sight, thereby intimating 
how the Lord would break " the people in the city," 
so that the ears of the hearer of such awful tidings 
should tingle. It was done in the valley of the Hin- 
nom, the place, it would seem, which had witnessed 
the dreadful spectacle of human sacrifices to the 
brutal Moloch. His temptation of the Rechabites, 
chap, xxxv, must also have conveyed a very solemn 
lesson to the people, had they had ears to hear and 
hearts to feel. Jeremiah bade these ancient teetotal- 
ers to drink wine, offered them the cup; but they 
flatly refused. The prophet then pointed the moral 
and pressed home the application; but Israel would 
not heed nor repent nor obey. God, we may well 
say, exhausted all means, tried every agency, em- 
ployed every kind of appeal, to move His people 
and to lead them back to their allegiance to Him. 
Obdurate, hard hearted, stiff of neck, rebellious, they 
were insensible to every effort and dumb to every 
entreaty. And so at length the judgment which 
could no longer be delayed, broke down upon them 
in all its appalling fury. Grace despised, mercy re- 
jected, love spurned and goodness outraged, become 
a*, tength whip* in the hands of offended justice. 


It is attested by ^n almost unbroken tradition that 
the author of this book was Jeremiah. The Sep- 
tuagint Translation, the Targum, Talmud, Josephus, 
all unite in declaring Jeremiah, the prophet, to be the 
writer. Prefixed to the book we find in the Septua- 
gint the following note: " And it came to pass after 
Israel had been carried away captive, and Jerusalem 
made desolate, Jeremiah sat weeping, and lamented 
this lament over Jerusalem, and said." It would re- 
quire strong evidence indeed to set aside testimony 
so explicit and direct as this. Prof. Plumtre sums 
up the internal evidence in support of the common 
view as to the authorship thus: " The poems belong 
unmistakably to the last days of the kingdom, or the 
commencement of the exile, and are written by one 
who speaks with the vividness and intensity of an 
eye witness of the misery which he bewails." Local 
belief has placed " the Grotto of Jeremiah" in the 
face of a rocky hill on the western side of the city 
where these lamentations were uttered. The 
prophet may well be supposed to have taken his 
stand and poured out his grief over his fallen coun- 
try at a point where the ruined city could be seen. 

The main characteristic of the book is indicated 
by its title, " Lamentations." Threnoi, loud weep- 
ings, hot burning and choked with sobs, is the em- 
phatic word the Septuagint uses. It is an elegy, a 


dirge, written over the desolation of Jerusalem by 
one whose love for it, guilty as he knew it to be, was 
like that of a father for a child, a wife for her hus- 
band. The prophet's grief for the smitten city re- 
minds one of David's for Saul and Jonathan (2 Sam. 
i, 17-27), of Rachel's for her dead children (Jer.xxxi, 
15). The cry of anguish at the fall of Constanti- 
nople; " the last sigh of the Moor," as he rode away 
an exile from beautiful Cordova; the wail of pity at 
the expulsion of the Huguenots from France and the 
Waldenses from the Piedmontese valleys, have not 
been forgotten, for they made a profound impression 
on the memory and the conscience of the world, and 
literature has recorded them in words of such ten- 
derness as move even the coldest reader. But Jere- 
miah's lamentation for favored, sinful and ruined 
Jerusalem is a cry of sorrow so touching as to move 
the stoutest heart, and must have been read with 
streaming eyes and quivering lips by many a Jew. 
In all literature there is nothing more pathetic than 
this mournful dirge 

i. The first lament, chap. i. There are two parts 
in this first chapter: (i) Zion, the widow, vss. i-ii. 
The description of the sorrow-smitten city is won- 
derfully graphic. Like a woman bereft of her hus- 
band and her children, seated on the ground with 
disheveled hair, stripped of all her ornaments, clad 
in weeds, weeping and wailing, is the prophet's vivid 
picture of the once proud and splendid city. It is 
Judea capta he describes. Of all her lovers not one 
is there to comfort her. The gates are gone, the 
priests sigh, the princes flee like the timid hart, and 
the children are gone into captivity. But the faith- 
ful servant of God fails not to make known the cause 


of such unparalleled disaster, such fearful woe. It 
is the Lord who has afflicted Zion; it is because of 
her multiplied transgressions that He has turned 
against, and "left her naked to her foes." (2) Zion's 
confession, vss. 12-22. In this part Zion speaks, 
while in the first part it is the prophet who laments. 
She bewails her dreadful plight, challenges the world 
to furnish a parallel to her misery. Yet she acknowl- 
edges that her punishment is from the Lord and her 
sins have brought the accumulated woe upon her. 
"The Lord is righteous; I have rebelled" ; s Zion's 

2. The Second Lament, chap, ii, is spoken by the 
prophet. It is a very remarkable description of the 
siege of Jerusalem and the ruin which followed its 
capture, vss. 1-12. The walls and palaces of the 
city, the altar and the sanctuary are defiled, the 
elders sit covered with dust, the virgins walk with 
head bowed down to the ground, and the children 
swoon in the streets, and breathe out their young 
lives into their mothers' bosoms. Then again the 
prophet discloses the secret of these awful calami- 
ties; it is the sin of the people; the visions of the 
false prophets that have led astray. And now Jeho- 
vah has turned against His people and city like a 
mighty warrior, and doom has fallen upon them all. 

3. The Third Lament, chap.iii, is likewise spoken 
by the prophet. But it differs from the preceding 
in that here he enters into the miseries of his people 
and makes them his own. In Zion's affliction he is 
afflicted. He shares to the uttermost the desola- 
tions of his people. We see the like spirit in Daniel, 
(ix). Love love to God and man is a marvelous 
thing. Paul could say, " Who is weak, and I am not 


weak? grieved, and I not grieved? offended, and I 
burn not?" 2 Cor. xi, 29. The truest philanthropy 
and patriotism are found in the genuine servants of 

4. The Fourth Lament, chap, iv, is uttered also 
by the prophet. The sense of the overwhelming 
overthrow that had come is intensified to the utter- 
most in this chapter. God's judgments on the guilty 
place have been pitiless, tremendous. Nothing is 
left but smouldering ruin, slain men, weeping women, 
orphan children. 

But there is now a gleam of hope. Divine wrath 
has exhausted itself, and mercy can once more flow 
out to the stricken ones. Thus in verse twenty-two 
this glad announcement is made: "The punishment 
of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of 
Zion; He will carry thee no more away into cap- 

5. The Fifth Lament, chap, v, spoken by the Jew- 
ish people, who make confession and appeal to God 
for help, deliverance and forgiveness. The ground 
of their appeal is their desolation and their utter 

The book of Lamentations teaches among others 
this great truth, that the affliction of God's people, 
even when they most deserve it, does not escape His 
eye. His Spirit enters into it through His servant 
the prophet, and shares it with them. " In all their 
affliction he was afflicted." The divine pity for the 
sufferings which love will not avert how wonderful 
it is! Jesus weeping at the grave of Lazarus, over 
Jerusalem, is an amazing scene, and one which can 
not be fully comprehended. 


We should bear in mind that certain prophets were 
contemporary. Jeremiah should be studied in con- 
nection with Ezekiel and Daniel; in fact, the three, 
together with the minor prophets, Zephaniah and 
Habakkuk, might very profitably be taken together 
as a group that deal largely with the same period 
and to a great extent with the same events. Ezekiel 
is closely related to Jeremiah. He began his pro- 
phetic ministry in the fifth year of Jehoiakin's cap- 
tivity, i, 5, and prosecuted it for twenty-two years at 
least, xxix, 17. Whether for a longer time or not 
we have no means of knowing. He was the pro- 
longation of the voice of Jeremiah. He took up the 
theme of his fellow prophet touching the future of 
the chosen people and developed it more and more, 
until we get in him and in Daniel a full revelation of 
the divine purpose. 

Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel was a priest as well as a 
prophet, and the priestly character in him is much 
more predominant than in the former. His call to 
the great office is recorded in i, 5, (cf. iii, 1-15). As 
Isaiah, Jeremiah and the other prophets, he was 
brought into immediate contact with God, whereby 
the gift was imparted. " The hand of the Lord was 
upon " him the communication of a message and 
the power to declare it. The imposition of the hand 
was followed by a vision of the Lord, and the scroll 


written within and without with its awful burden, 
ii, 10. 

The place where Ezekiel prophesied was at Tel- 
Abib on the " river Chebar," either a tributary of 
the Euphrates, or one of the great canals which 
Nebuchadnezzar constructed. He had been carried 
into captivity with many other Jews in the second 
deportation to Chaldea in the reign of Jehoiakin. A 
colony of exiles had located at Chebar, and to them 
was the prophet sent; among them he exercised his 
ministry. But there seems to be clear evidence that 
the word spoken by him was not intended exclu- 
sively for the captives who dwelt at Chebar. The 
expression, " the house of Israel," which occurs five 
times in chapter three, and once among these five is 
found "all the house of Israel," contemplates a wider 
circle of hearers, a larger audience than the exiles 
among whom Ezekiel dwelt. In fact, the message 
of this prophet is for all Israel of this day, and for 
all time down to their predicted restoration and 
blessing, as chaps, xl-xlviii abundantly attest. 

Chap, i, I, is the common formula for the authen- 
tication of the book, and not for the first chapter 
alone. The date " thirty years " of this verse is 
somewhat difficult to determine. The most satisfac- 
tory explanation is that it refers to Ezekiel's own 
age. According to Num. iv, 3, the sons of Kohath 
the line of the priests, Ex. vi, 18, 20 were to 
enter on their duties as priests at this age. As a 
priest, it seems fitting that Ezekiel should begin his 
work at thirty. In chap, xi, 16, the Lord promises 
to be a little sanctuary to the exiles in Chaldea. 
Ezekiel was to be a sort of ministering priest to them 
at this sanctuary. Hence his prophetic office prob- 


ably dates from his priestly age which was, of course, 
thirty years. 

In this connection it may be well to record some 
other dates of real importance to the study of the 
books which historically belong to the time of the 
fall of the kingdom of Judah: Battle of Carchemish 
and death of Josiah, B. C. 611; first invasion of 
Judea by Nebuchadnezzar (third year of Jehoiakim) 
Dan. i, I, B.C. 606; second invasion, Jehoiakin, king, 
B. C. 599; third invasion, Zedekiah,king, destruction 
of Jerusalem and fall of the kingdom, B. C. 589 or 
588. About B. C. 594 Ezekiel entered on his pro- 
phetic mission in which he labored for at least twen- 
ty-two years, viz., to B. C. 572. For a considerable 
period he was Jeremiah's contemporary, though 
widely separated from the latter as to place. 

The book may be divided into three parts: Part I, 
chaps, i-xxiv, testimonies from God against Israel in 
general and against Jerusalem in particular Part 
II, chaps, xxv-xxxii, judgments denounced against 
surrounding nations. Part III, chaps, xxxiii-xlviii, 
the subject of Israel is resumed, and their restora- 
tion and blessing foretold. 

A more minute classification is indicated by the 
prophet himself in the several dates which at inter- 
vals he places as the superscriptions to the messages 
he receivedc The groups with their time notes are 
the following: (i) Call and commission of the 
prophet, i-iii, 15, time note, i, 2. (2) Description of 
the wickedness of Israel, siege and destruction 
of Jerusalem and the subsequent calamities, iii, 16- 
vii; time note, iii, 16. (3) Profanation of the temple, 
corruption of the priesthood, God's determination 
to forsake His sanctuary, safety for the faithful rero- 


nant and pumsnment for the wicked, chaps, viii-xix; 
time note, viii, I. (4) Terrific indictment against 
the guilty people, judgment no longer to be delayed, 
chaps, xx-xxiii; time note, xx, i. (5) Announce- 
ment of the final end, chaps, xxiv-xxv; time note, 
xxiv, I. The doom of the holy city and people is 
strangely represented by the sudden death of the 
prophet's wife, and by the stoniness of the grief that 
was too deep for tears and too terrible for a funeral 
dirge. But Judea would not be alone in the day of 
wrath; Ammon and Moab and Edom would share 
therein. (6) Predictions against Tyre, chaps, xxvi- 
xxviii; time note, xxvi, I. (7) Predictions against 
Egypt, chaps, xxix-xxxi; time note, xxix, I. (8) 
Overthrow of various nations and death wail for 
them, Israel not escaping, with appeals to repen- 
tance and promises, chaps, xxxii-xxxvi; time notes, 
xxxii, I, 17; xxxiii, 21. (9) Israel's national resur- 
rection and judgment on Gog, the end of God's 
judicial dealing with His people, chaps, xxxvii- 
xxxix; time note, xxxvii, I. (10) Glowing picture 
of the latter-day glory, chaps, xl-xlviii; time note, 
xl, I. 

The main object of Ezekiel's prophecies appears 
to be to comfort the exiles in their desolation 
and loneliness, to fortify them against the idolatrous 
practices by which they were surrounded, and 
to turn their faces toward the land from which they 
had been expelled but to which God would restore 
them if with true hearts they should turn to Him 
again. His name is significant of his mission. 
Ezekiel, " God will strengthen." His whole ministry 
is characterized by strength. Like a giant he 
wrestled against Jewish degeneracy and Chaldean 


pride. He threw himself with all the force of 
his passionate soul against the evils of his people 
and of the times; but he was as strong in his tender- 
ness and love as in his denunciations and reproofs. 
Ezekiel is strictly the prophet. Unlike Jeremiah 
little of his feelings or his personal history enters 
into his prophecies; nor did he address himself 
to the guidance of public affairs; the circumstances 
of his ministry did not require he should. Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, Daniel, had to do with the kings of their 
times, with the people of Israel and with the first 
great Gentile empire. Ezekiel's mission was to the 
exiles in Chaldea; he was the prophet of the rem- 
nant, the seer of a glorious future for his people and 
for the earth. 

1. His style is lofty and trenchant. Apart from 
his prophetic gift, which unquestionably was very 
great, he possessed profound erudition and genius. 

2. In symbolic representations and prophetic 
action Ezekiel abounds. He has visions (viii-xi), 
symbolic action (iv, v, 1-4), similitudes (xii, xv). 
parables (xvii), proverbs (xviii), allegories (xxiii- 
xxiv), open prophecies (as vi, vii, xx, etc.). There 
is scarcely a form in which the divine commun- 
ications were made to the men of God that is 
not employed by this prophet. This wealth of 
imagery imparts singular beauty and variety to 
his pages. They glow with life and action and bril- 
liant colors. But this fact makes the book all 
the more difficult of interpretation. Jerome long 
ago called the book " an ocean and labyrinth of the 
mysteries of God " Yet if we keep in mind the dis- 
tinction between symbols, and visions, and signs 
wrought in the prophet's own person, our under- 


standing of the book will be greatly simplified. In 
chap, xxxvii, 16, 17, the prophet joins together two 
sticks to represent the reunion of the ten tribes with 
Judah and Benjamin. In v, 1-4, he cuts off his hair 
and burns it, smites and scatters it in the wind, to 
signify approaching judgment. At one time we see 
him stamping with his feet and clasping his hands, 
as if in the agony of grief, vi, 1 1 ; at another he por- 
trays on a tile the holy city, lays siege to this 
pictured city, casts a mount against it, sets a camp 
and battering rams against it, in short, he enacts a 
mimic battle in the sight of the people, iv, I, 2. 
Again, by divine direction the prophet collects his 
household stuff together for removal, and takes it 
upon his shoulders and sets forth, with covered face, 
as if he were bound on a long and tiresome journey, 
xii, i-n. All these were acted parables with a deep 
significance for the house of Israel. And just as full 
of meaning was his allegory of the two eagles, xvii, 
i-io. He showed by the one eagle (Nebuchadnezzar) 
who had cropped the highest twig in Judah (Jehoia- 
kin), and by the other (Pharaoh) to whom the vine 
that was left (Zedekiah) was turning, the uprooting 
of the whole; and digressing from that he predicts 
the replanting of the whole under Messiah, the 
Branch (Leif child). 

How much of this symbolic action was really per- 
formed by the prophet it might be difficult to deter- 
mine; yet there can be little doubt but that much of 
it, perhaps all of it, was literally done in the sight 
of his countrymen, that the divine message with 
which he was entrusted might impress the people all 
the more vividly and intensely. It is not too much 
to say that the prophets in some cases became actual 


signs, and what they did under the inspiration of the 
Holy Spirit was as certainly a revelation from God 
as what they spoke. 

3. One symbolic transaction, however, deserves 
special mention, viz.: that recorded in iv, 4-17. The 
prophet was to lie, first on his left side, for a period 
of three hundred and ninety days; next, on his right 
side for forty days; the whole amounting to four 
hundred and thirty days. It is a question more curi- 
ous than profitable, whether Ezekiel actually did 
this in the presence of his people, or whether it was 
a vision. That it is within the range of possibility 
no one will venture to deny. It is related that a 
nobleman of Louvain lay sixteen years in one post- 
ure, and many an invalid has maintained a like posi- 
tion for a much longer time than the prophet; for on 
the supposition that Ezekiel really did it he spent 
about thirteen months prostrate; nor are we required 
to believe that it was absolutely continuous. But 
this question is not essential to an understanding of 
the transaction. This prophetic action probably had 
reference to the future. Hosea had already pre- 
dicted a repetition of the history of Israel in the 
afflictions which were about to come upon them for 
their sins; a repetition of bondage like that of 
Egypt, Hos. viii, 13; ix, 3. The forty years for Judah 
would be like that of the wilderness journey; years 
not only of punishment, but of discipline and prep- 
aration for the destiny that awaited them in the 
restoration. The northern kingdom would suffer 
for a much longer time than the southern, hence the 
significant 390 years, xx, 35-38. In this view, Israel 
is regarded as the greater transgessor, Judah the less 
guilty. And the facts appear to corroborate it 


Samaria was the leader in apostasy from God. Such 
is the opinion of Fairbairn, and one that commends 
itself to the reader. All Israel is for the time set 
aside, disowned of God as His peculiar people, and 
power passes over to the Gentiles in the person of 
Nebuchadnezzar. A second oppression, comparable 
in many ways to that endured so long before in 
Egypt, now awaits the people; longer, however, for 
the kingdom that originated the rebellion against 
the authority of God. In fact, Ezekiel resembles 
the Pentateuch in not a few particulars. But in this 
book a totally new order of things is announced, 
xl, xlviii. 

4. The vision of the throne of glory, chap. i. 
Nothing can exceed the majesty of this description. 
It furnished the poet Milton the material for one of 
his finest paragraphs: 

Forth rushed with whirlwind sound 

The chariot of paternal Diety, 

Flashing thick flames, wheel within wheel undrawn, 

Itself instinct with Spirit, but conveyed 

By four cherubic shapes; four faces each 

Had wondrous; as with stars their bodies all 

And wings were set with eyes, with eyes the wheels 

Of Beryl, and careering fires between; 

Over their heads a crystal firmament, 

Whereon a sapphire throne. 

It is the throne of the Eternal, the glory of the 
Lord of hosts that is the main object of the vision, 
vss. 26, 28. The " four living creatures " which are 
closely associated with the throne are identical with 
the cherubim of Scripture. Just what these were or 
symbolized, it is hard to determine. The term 
cherub has been denned to be one that guards and 
covers. In Gen. iii, 24, where the first mention of 


them is made, they guard the way of the tree of life. 
The prince of Tyrus is likened to the cherub that 
covereth, Ezek. xxviii, 14. Perhaps the reference in 
this last case is to the cherubim that overshadowed 
the mercy-seat of the ark in the tabernacle, Ex. xxv, 
18-22. The ark of the covenant to some extent 
represented the throne of God. The cherubim 
formed the sides of the throne; their wings, which 
were projected over their heads and forward so as to 
cover the mercy-seat, made a sort of canopy; and 
the mercy-seat itself was the base or foundation of 
the throne. Between the cherubim and over the 
mercy-seat blazed the shekinah, the emblem of the 
divine presence. With the blood of atonement on 
the mercy-seat the ark became the throne of grace, 
and is no doubt the origin of that expression in 
Heb. iv, 16. 

But the " living creatures " do more than guard 
and cover. Here in Ezek. i, and in x, they are inti- 
mately connected with the throne, are its supporters, 
and in some sense are the executors of the divine 
will. Instinct with the life of the throne, they " ran 
and returned as the appearance of a flash of light- 
ning." Their activity and intelligence are figured 
by a system of complicated wheels, wheels within 
wheels, with high and dreadful rings, and filled with 
eyes. It was through them that the Spirit of the 
throne went forth, everyway, whithersoever it would- 
Each of them in Ezekiel had four faces, the " face of 
a man and the face of a lion on the right side; the 
face of an ox on the left side; and each had the face 
of an eagle," vss. 6-10. 

Moreover, each cherub in Ezekiel has four wings, 
i, 6; and each has the likeness of a man, vs. 5. The 


reference is doubtless to the bodily shape. They 
are composite, the four great heads of creation, the 
lion, the ox, the eagle and man being united in one 
complex symbolic figure. In Rev. iv, they have 
each six wings, and appear to be separate from each 
other. And in the Revelation they engage in acts 
of worship, v. 

If now we gather together all that is told us of the 
nature and functions of the cherubim it will be seen 
that they not only guard and cover, but likewise exe- 
cute the sovereign will of Him who occupies the 
glorious throne, and they render worship ?.nd hom- 
age to Almighty God. Besides, they are distin- 
guished for intelligence and piercing insight, for 
they are " full of eyes before and behind " they see 
into the future as into the past; they possess a kind 
of omniscience. And their action is of indescribable 
swiftness and irresistible power. Like the lightning 
burst they go and come. 

What do the cherubim symbolize? Some say, the 
fullness of the deity; others, the manhood of Christ; 
others, angels; and others still, redeemed humanity. 
In determining the significance of them, it should be 
borne in mind that they are associated with the 
throne of God, and with the great work of redemp- 
tion. On the throne as seen by Ezekiel, One whose 
likeness was "as the appearance of a man" sat. 
Those familiar with the language of the Bible need 
not be reminded that this is the Old Testament de- 
scription of the Lord Jesus. Be it remembered that 
the throne of Ezekiel is one both of judgment and 
of grace. I believe the " living creatures " of Ezekiel 
are hieroglyphs of God's attributes, of the eternal 
forces and infinite powers of the throne of God 


Whatever they have or do, purpose or execute, is 
derived from Him and the result of His mighty 
energy. Intelligence, strength, stability, and swift- 
ness in judgment, and, withal, the movement of the 
whole course of earthly events, depend on the 
throne. Majesty, government and providence unite 
to form the throne and execute His behests who sits 
on it. The execution of His will is through the 
powers and forces which He himself has created, 
angels, natural law, human beings, and the animal 
creation. Everything is subject to Him, does His 

Let it be observed also, that the throne of the 
Supreme and Sovereign Lord is seen in Chaldea. In 
xi, 23, 24, " the glory of the Lord " departs from the 
city (Jerusalem) and is beheld by the prophet at 
Chebar. It never returns to the city or the land 
until the vision of the glorious temple and city (xlii, 
1-7) has its ample fulfillment. It is noteworthy that 
when the glory of the Lord returns to Israel in the 
latter day, it comes " from the east." It had gone 
away to the east at its departure when the throne of 
David fell; power went forth to the Gentiles, and the 
" times of the Gentiles " began. When it comes 
back, it comes from the east whither it had gone, and 
Zion's time for favor has come again. 

This affords the explanation of the title " son of 
man " given to Ezekiel and Daniel. Ninety and 
more times it is bestowed on Ezekiel, never by him- 
self, but always by the Revealer; once to Daniel, 
Dan. viii, 17. It belongs to the two prophets in exile 
and to no others. The nation is rejected; God is 
outside of it, stands at a distance from it; and speaks 
to the prophets through whom He communicates 


His will as if Jewish distinctions were gone, and God 
addresses them as men, only men. The title and the 
testimony are exactly adapted to each other. 

5. Vision of the idolatry secretly practised at 
Jerusalem, viii. The chapter lets us into the real 
causes for the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah. 
In the subterranean passages beneath the temple 
area were fitted up chapels decorated after the 
fashion of Egypt with likenesses of sacred animals to 
which incense was offered. They had also a wailing- 
place where women wept and howled over the loss 
of the Syrian god Tammuz. Within the space of 
the sacred temple court between the porch and the 
altar there was a band of high dignitaries who turned 
their backs on the sanctuary and paid their devo- 
tions to the eastward, to the sun as he rose over the 
Mount of Olives. Although this was the most 
ancient form of idolatry it does not appear in Judah 
till the close of the monarchy. 

We learn from Ezekiel's contemporary, Jeremiah, 
that the queen of heaven was worshipped, Astarte, 
(Jer. vii), and likewise the brutal Moloch (Jer. vii), 
a Phoenician idol. Children were sacrificed to it ; the 
fruit of the body was given for the sin of the soul. 
The idol stood in the valley of the son of Hinnom, 
the scene of the unnatural rites was Tophet. Thence 
came the significant and dreadful word, Gehenna, hell. 

6. Israel's restoration. In common with the other 
prophets Ezekiel announces repeatedly a glorious 
future for his people, the house of Israel a fu- 
ture but partially realized in the return from the exile 
of Babylon. (See chaps. xi,i7~20;xvi; xxxiv; xxxvi)- 

As if these predictions were not enough nor ex- 
plicit enough, another more remarkable in various 


ways than any preceding it in the book is given; it 
is the famous thirty-seventh, viz., the vision of the 
Valley of Dry Bones. It is the graveyard of the 
Jewish nation the prophet sees, the helpless, dis- 
membered, denationalized people, whose return and 
restoration to the favor of God and to national unity 
are as resurrection from the dead. It is common to 
apply this vision to the conversion of sinners, but 
while the process is the same in all cases, whether 
Jew or Gentile, the prime application is to Israel, as 
vs. 1 1 clearly shows, " Son of man, these bones are 
the whole house of Israel." 

7. The judgment of Gog, xxxviii, xxxix. The 
revised version has made a change in the second 
verse of the first chapter named which is an improve- 
ment. The message is against "the prince of Rosh, 
Meshech and Tubal," names that are surprisingly 
akin to Rus, Moskovy and Tobolsk. It is a northern 
power that is meant, one north of Judea. He will 
invade the land with the suddenness and impetuosity 
of a storm; but he shall be destroyed by supernat- 
ural intervention. If Ezek. xxxix, 17-20, describes 
the same event as Rev. xix, 17, 18, then Gog's over- 
throw precedes the millennium. If John, in Rev. 
xx, 7-9, treats of the same power and invasion as 
Ezekiel, and the description seems to establish the 
identity, then Ezekiel's prediction refers to the very 
last outbreak of sin and rebellion in the history of 
the earth, viz., that which takes place after the mil- 
lennium and in the little season during which Satan 
is loosed from the pit. Gog, then, is the end of all 
the dealings of God with Israel and the Gentile 
world, the last transaction before the setting of the 
great white thropr 


8. The vision of the city and temple, xl-xlviii. 
This is the last vision of Ezekiel, and the most nota- 
ble of all. The contents of these chapters may be 
distributed into three parts: The vision of the tem- 
ple, xl-xliii; the vision of the worship, xliv-xlvi; the 
vision of the land, xlvii, xlviii. It should be re- 
membered, however, that the vision is one, and 
glides easily from the temple to its worship, and 
then to the partition of the land among the restored 
tribes. The dimensions of Ezekiel's temple corres- 
pond with Solomon's; but the courts are enlarged 
considerably. Its services are very different from 
those of Mosaic times. The city of the vision is 
enormously enlarged. The circuit of Jerusalem in 
the time of Josephus was about four miles. The city 
of Ezekiel has a circuit of about thirty-seven miles. 
Ezekiel's land, likewise, is immensely larger than 
that of the olden time. Wilkinson's estimate is as 
follows: From north to south it extends about six 
hundred miles, and the average breadth about five 
hundred; which would give some three hundred 
thousand square miles for the whole country. Be- 
sides, the location of the tribes is very different from 
that of the past. If any measure of literality at- 
taches to this wonderful description it belongs to the 
future; it cannot in any proper sense belong to the 
past. Just what the meaning of this vision is, it is 
by no means easy to determine. 

(i) It is not a pattern for the second temple 
(Grotius), for it was never carried out. (2) Nor 
was it designed to furnish an idea of the magnifi- 
cence and grandeur with which the second temple 
should be built (Hengstenberg); the whole descrip- 
tion of this symbolic structure forbids it. In short, 


Ezekiel's temple and the services connected with it 
cannot be identified with either the first or the sec- 
ond temple; it stands apart from Herod's also. (3) 
Note the changes in the dimensions of the sanctuary, 
the court, the gates, the walls, the locality, raised as 
it is on a high mountain. (4) There are subtractions . 
There is no ark of the covenant, no shew-bread, no 
candlestick, no veil, no mercy-seat, no cherubim, no 
tables of the law, no holy of holies, no high priest. 
The priesthood is confined to the sons of Zadock. 
The Levites have passed away as a sacred order. Of 
the three great festivals Pentecost is omitted; nor is 
there any mention of the day of atonement. (5) The 
additions, too, are wonderful. In this vision there is 
the return of the glory from the East, where it had 
gone when Judah failed and went into captivity 
(xliii, 1-5), to dwell in the temple forever; the living 
waters that flow from beneath the altar (xlvii, 1-5); 
the trees (xlvii, 7, 12); the new distribution of the 
land according to the twelve tribes, and the prince, 
and his portion, the suburbs; the new city and the 
immense temple area, all combine to point to a fu- 
ture re-establishment of Israel and to the millennial 
glory. This whole prophecy is a symbolical rep- 
resentation, a typical foreshadowing of the bliss 
which awaits the chosen people of God and the en- 
tire earth. It has never yet had its appropriate ful- 
fillment. To spiritualize it, as some do, exhausting 
all its splendors and hopes in the Christian dispensa- 
tion, is to mistake its meaning and dwarf its magnifi- 
cent proportions. For unmistakably the vision has 
to do with Israel in the last and glorious days when 
all God hath promised for that people shall have its 


The book of Daniel and the Revelation of John are 
companion prophecies, and must be studied to- 
gether. They treat of the same great subjects, and 
use almost exactly the same symbols. Both deal in 
dates, both have what we may call a sacred arithme- 
tic, and in both the stupendous scenes and events of 
the end of the age are the main features. Thanks to 
the patient toil and prayerful study of Daniel much 
of what was profound mystery to the fathers is now 
made plain. Our task is simply to gather up the re- 
sults and set them forth as briefly as possible. 

I. The prophet Daniel was of noble if not of royal 
birth, i, 3. He was made captive at the first invasion 
of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar in the third year of 
Jehoiakim's reign, i, I. The entire period of his 
exile, which ended only with his life, was spent at 
Babylon and its vicinity. Under the reigns of 
Nebuchadnezzar, under his successors, Evil-Mero- 
dach, Neriglissar, Laborosoarchad, Nabonadius, Bel- 
shazzar; under that of Darius the Mede and of Cyrus 
down to his third year (x, 1), Daniel lived. He saw 
the mighty works inaugurated by the great Baby- 
lonian king who might be said to have rebuilt the 
city. He was a witness of the overthrow of the 
Chaldean Empire, and the establishment of the Per- 
sian rule. It was a momentous epoch in which 


Daniel lived, one of the most notable in the annals 
of the world. 

2. Fidelity of Daniel and his fellow exiles, i, 3-20. 
Nebuchadnezzar determined to extirpate the relig- 
ion and patriotism of these four young men, first, by 
changing their names and imposing on them names 
which connected them with the gods of Babylon; 
second, by compelling them to live as the heathen. 
But heatheniztng their names did not heathenize 
their hearts; changing their names did not change 
their creed or their character, and eat unclean 
food they would not nor did. Had Daniel and his 
companions done in Babylon as the Babylonians did, 
they would soon have sunk to the level of their 
heathen captors. But they knew truth has no lati- 
tude, and loyalty to God no longitude. Their stead- 
fastness won the splendid attestation of the divine 
favor, i, 15-20. " The secret of the Lord is with them 
that fear Him, and He will show them His cove- 
nant," Ps. xxv, 14. 

3. Authenticity of the book. Daniel has been 
furiously assailed. The attack began with Porphyry, 
a pagan, born in Syria, A. D. 233. And it rages still. 
Only the briefest outline of some of the arguments 
in support of its genuineness can be here given. 

(i) The book claims to have been written by 
Daniel. In the last six chapters the author uses 
such phrases as, " I saw in the night visions;" " I, 
Daniel, alone saw the vision;" " I, Daniel, understood 
by books," etc. These chapters are inseparably 
bound up with the first six. The pertinent question 
is, Are these statements true? He would be reckless 
indeed who would impeach the author's veracity, or 
charge him with forgery. 

DANIEL. 277 

(2) Josephus affirms that Alexander the Great was 
shown the prophecies in Daniel concerning himself 
by the high priest Jaddua, and the conqueror was so 
delighted that he offered to confer any favor on the 
Jews. Alexander antedated Antiochus more than 
150 years. 

(3) Daniel and his three companions are referred 
to in i Mace, ii, 49-60, in such a way as to lead us to 
believe the book was extant when this apocryphal 
writing was composed. 

(4) Ezekiel testifies both to the existence and 
character of Daniel, xiv, 14, 20. In xxviii, 3, there 
is a manifest allusion to Daniel's wisdom as a re- 
vealer of secrets, " a resolver of doubts." It seems 
clear that Ezekiel knew of the prophet's interpreta- 
tion of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and of the hand- 
writing on the wall of Belshazzar's palace. This 
witness is all the more important because the two 
prophets were cotemporaries, and no one doubts the 
authenticity of Ezekiel's book. 

(5) Our Lord sets His seal to the reality of Daniel's 
official character and the truth of his predictions, 
Matt, xxiv, 15. Christ teaches that this prediction 
of Daniel still remained to be fulfilled when He 
uttered the memorable Olivet discourse, i. e., more 
than a century and a half after the time of Anti- 

(6) The records of ancient Babylon as deciphered 
by archeologists harmonize with the statements of 
the prophet. In many minute particulars Daniel 
has been vindicated by modern research. The words 
of M. Lenormant deserve serious attention: ''The 
more the knowledge of the cuneiform texts advances, 
the more is felt the necessity to revise (correct) the 


too hasty condemnation of the book of Daniel by 
the German exegetical school," (La Magie, p. 14). 

4. Division of the book. We may separate it into 
two parts: Part I. Chaps, i-vi. This section con- 
tains the following topics as marked by the chapters: 
Daniel and his companions in exile, i; Nebuchad- 
nezzar's dream and its interpretation, ii; the fiery 
furnace, iii; Nebuchadnezzar's second dream, iv; 
Belshazzar's banquet and Babylon's fall, v; Daniel in 
the lion's den, vi. 

Part II. Chaps, vii-xii. This section is prediction 
throughout and contains the main features and 
phases of Gentile rule, and its final overthrow by 
the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. 

A more suggestive analysis, due mainly to Dr. N. 
West, is the following : 

I. Development of the world-kingdoms. 

Chap, i, Introductory Nebuchadnezzar the king, 
B. C. 606. 

Chap, ii, The image dream; Nebuchadnezzar's sec- 
ond year, B. C. 604. 

Chap, iii, The fiery furnace; Nebuchadnezzar's 
twentieth year, B. C. 580 (about). 

Chap, iv, Nebuchadnezzar's mania; Nebuchadnez- 
zar's thirtieth year, B. C. 570. 

Chap, v, Fall of Babylon, B. C. 538; Belshazzar 

Chap, vi, Lion's den; Darius the Mede, B. C. 538. 

Chap, vii, The four wild beasts, B. C. 555; Bel- 
shazzar regent. 

II. Development of the conflict between Israel 
and the world-power. 

Chap, viii, Vision of the ram and he-goat, B. C. 
553; Belshazzar regent. 

DANIEL. 279 

Chap, ix, The seventy weeks, B. C. 538; Darius the 

Chaps, x-xii, Final vision the apocalypse; B. C. 
534, Cyrus king. 

Under two empires, the Chaldean and Medo-Per- 
sian, Daniel's prophecies were made. They may be 
arranged thus: 

I. Under Nebuchadnezzar. 

(a) The dream of the metallic image. 

(b) The idol image and fiery furnace. 

(c) The hewn tree. 

II. Under Belshazzar. 

(a) The four beasts. 

(b) The ram and goat. 

(c) Belshazzar's feast. 

III. Under Darius the Mede. 

(a) The lion's den. 

(b) The seventy weeks. 

IV. Under Cyrus. The great apocalypse, chaps, 

5. Daniel's place in the general scheme of proph- 
ecy. It is a very remarkable one. The book differs 
from the other prophetic writings, not only in the 
design and objects of the messages, but also from 
the view-point of the messages themselves. The 
other prophets are concerned mainly with Israel. 
Other nations and people are the subjects of their 
predictions incidentally, as they come into contact 
with Israel; for the chosen people were still recog- 
nized as God's, and in covenant relationship with 
Him. As long as the house of Judah remained 
measurably faithful, the throne was secure, and Jeru- 
salem enjoyed the divine protection. Gentile powers 
like Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, were ambitious to 


gain the sovereignty of the world; but while Judah 
was owned of God, they were held in like fierce ani- 
mals by an unseen leash. Providence would not 
suffer any one of them to obtain the mastery over 
the others. But Judah ere long followed in the 
footsteps of Samaria, and God gave the throne of 
David and the holy city into the power of the 
Chaldean king, Nebuchadnezzar. The supremacy 
passed into his hands: "The God of heaven hath 
given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and 
glory. . . . Thou art the head of gold," Dan. ii, 37, 
38. The remarkable words of the Savior, so full of 
significance and so pregnant of meaning, " The 
times of the Gentiles," (Luke xxi, 24), date from this 
gift of supremacy to king Nebuchadnezzar. Never 
since has Israel been a free and independent people. 
Subject to Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, they are 
still without a national existence, without a king, an 
altar, a temple, and a sacrifice. Their distinctive 
calling is in abeyance, their relation with God as the 
chosen people is suspended while " the times of the 
Gentiles " run on. It was in connection with this 
new order of things that Daniel prophesied. It was 
at the inauguration of the Gentile times he saw the 
visions recorded in this book. And it is this great 
fact which stamps the prophecies with the peculiar 
features here exhibited. 

I. Nebuchadnezzar's dream the Colossus; 
chap. if. 

The date is the second year of his reign, vs. I, 
B. C. 604. The occasion of it was the king's anxiety 
as to the future of the kingdom which he had been 
instrumental in founding, vs. 29. The royal mandate 
to reproduce and interpret the dream baffled the 


sagacity and cunning of the professional fortune- 
tellers of Babylon. Daniel with the sublime confi- 
dence of faith in the living God offered to do both, 
vs. 16. He and his companions held a prayer meet- 
ing, and sought help from the source of all knowl- 
edge, the revealer of all secrets God; and their 
prayer was heard, their faith rewarded, vs. 17-24. 

1. The dream, vss. 31-35. It was a huge image or 
statue the king saw. Its form was that of a gigantic 
man, resplendent with brightness, imposing in atti- 
tude, and terrible in appearance. Unlike any other 
work of art with which the king was familiar this 
clossal man was composite. It was made up of five 
different materials; the head of gold; the breast and 
arms of silver; the belly and thighs of brass; the legs 
of iron; the feet and toes of iron and clay. As the 
king gazed on the lofty statue, suddenly and without 
premonition a stone, extra-human and superhuman 
in its origin, struck the image with crushing force on 
its feet, and crumpled the clay, iron, brass, silver and 
gold into powder which the wind carried away. If 
the size and splendor of the Colossus were impres- 
sive, how much more must have been its destruction. 

2. The interpretation, vss. 36-45. It is certainly 
one which human ingenuity could not have hit upon. 
The wise men and flatterers of the Chaldean court 
never would have ventured to announce such a ter- 
mination to Gentile supremacy. The interpretation 
bears on its face the proof of its divine authority. 
We gather the explanation into a few sentences. 

(i) The Colossus symbolizes the World-kingdoms 
in their unity and historical succession, vss. 38-42. 
God makes known to Nebuchadnezzar " what shall 
come to pass" hereafter, vs. 29. Gentile dominion 


is represented as a huge metallic man. Its whole 
history, from its rise, through its progress to its final 
demolition and disappearance from the earth forever, 
is summed up in this prophetic man. " Here we 
learn that every man contains in the very shape of 
his body, a history and a prophecy of the fate of the 
whole universe, from the commencement of the 
Babylonian captivity to the remote period of the 
future," (Deane). 

(2) Four great empires, and only four, were to 
succeed each other in the government of the world 
from the Chaldean to the end. The first was the 
Babylonian with Nebuchadnezzar at its head. " Thou 
art this head of gold," vs. 38. The grant of empire 
was made to him, vss. 37, 38; Jer. xvii, 5-7. 

The breast and arms of silver denote the Medo- 
Persian Empire which overthrew the Chaldean, 
and became its successor in the government of 
the world. The brass is the Greco-Macedonian, 
which overturned the Persian; and the iron is 
the Roman, which succeeded the Greek. It may 
be asked, How do you know that the various metals 
of the colossus symbolize the World-kingdoms above 
mentioned? By the prophet Daniel himself. Dan. 
ii, 38, proves that the first was the Chaldean; chap, 
viii, 20, tells us that the successor of that empire 
was the Medo-Persian; and viii, 21, declares that 
" Grecia " follows Persia; while ix, 26, plainly inti- 
mates that Rome is the fourth, and Rev. xiii puts 
this beyond a doubt. Besides, the words, " king," 
"kings," " kingdoms," are used to designate empire 
or rule, throughout this second chapter of the book. 

(3) Deterioration marks the course of Gentile 
rule, vss. 39, 40. There is decrease in the value of 

DANIEL. 283 

che metals composing the image. Gold is better 
than silver; silver than brass; brass than iron; iron 
than clay. The distance between gold and mud is 
immense. Moreover, the first power is a unit, the 
second, dual; the third, quadruple (vii, 6; viii, 8); the 
fourth, in its final form, decimal-ten toes in the 
image, vss. 41, 42; ten horns in the beast, vii, 7; 
Rev. xiii. 

Thus more and more does constitutional unity de- 
cline until it fades out into democratic license and 
communistic anarchy. Iron denotes the imperial, 
unyielding element; clay, the plastic and popular 
element. The two cannot blend. Imperial institu- 
tions and popular institutions war with each other. 
This is the state of things which marks the last stage 
in the history of the world-kingdoms the strength 
of iron and the weakness of clay. 

(4) The destruction of the image was accom- 
plished by a " stone cut out without hands," vss. 34, 
44, 45. Obviously it is divine power that is meant. 
Man has nothing to do with the appearing or fall of 
the stone. From first to last it is supernatural 
agency. Christ is the stone, Isa. viii, 14; Ps. cxviii, 
22; Acts iv, n, etc. He and His kingdom are iden- 
tified in the prophecy. 

(5) The time of the destruction is clearly indi- 
cated. It is " in the days of these kings," vs. 44. 
What kings? Manifestly, the kings who belong to 
the world-power in its last, the ten-kingdom form 
the time of the ten toes and the ten horns. The 
Stone smites the image, not in the head (Babylonian 
time), nor in the breast and arms (Persian period), 
nor in the body (Grecian times), nor in the legs 
(Roman times), but on the feet and toes, vss. 34, 44, 



45. Not when Babylon fell, nor when Persia was 
overthrown, nor when the Greek Empire went down, 
nor at the birth of Jesus, nor at His death, nor when 
the Holy Spirit came on the church on the day of 
Pentecost, nor at the Reformation, was the colossus 
scattered to the winds. It still exists. Moreover, 
the Stone does not first fill the earth and crowd the 
colossus out, nor does it diffuse a transforming in- 
fluence over it, and change it into a devout worship- 
per of God. No, it does nothing of the sort. It 
crushes it. Demolition is not conversion. A blind 
man ought to see that the action of the Stone is 
judgment, not grace; it is destruction, not salvation, 
that is here predicted. The times of the Gentiles 
end in wrath and ruin, and there succeeds them the 
establishment of the visible kingdom of God which 
shall be as wide as the world and as lasting as the 
eternal years of God. 

II. The historical chapters, iii-vi. These chapters 
are intimately connected with the strictly predictive 
portions of the book. They are intended to exhibit 
the moral character of the World-power. And 
throughout the World-power is found to be idol- 
atrous, self-willed, intolerant, defiant of authority, 
and blasphemous. Whether it be Babylonian or 
Persian, Greek or Roman, ancient or modern, it an- 
tagonizes Christ, repudiates His authority, flings His 
servants into the furnace or to the lions, and cor- 
rupts His truth whenever it touches it. A wonder- 
fully searching light do these historical chapters of 
Daniel cast on the spirit and temper of the Gentile 

III. The vision of the four predatory beasts, vii. 
The dream (ii) took place in the second year of 

DANIEL. 285 

Nebuchadnezzar. The vision of the four beasts oc- 
curred in the first year of Belshazzar. 

(1 ) Their origin. They rose out of " the great sea;" 
the Mediterranean, as the phrase invariably signi- 
fies. This is the territorial scene of the vision. Out 
of the sea torn by the four winds of heaven they 
emerge, i. e., out of the commotions and revolutions 
of the nations the beasts arise. 

(2) The beasts are identical with the four univer- 
sal kingdoms of the colossal image, (chap, ii), vss. 
17, 23. " King" and "kingdom " are in the prophecy 
convertible terms. The Babylonian, Medo-Persian, 
Greco-Macedonian and Roman kingdoms are here 
likewise symbolized. The reason why these empires 
are twice represented in the prophecy once by the 
metals of the colossus, and once by the beasts is 
found in the difference between man's view of the 
World-kingdoms and God's. In man's view they are 
the concentration of all material wealth, majesty and 
power. In God's view they are a set of rapacious, 
wild beasts devouring one another by brute force. 

(3) The fourth beast is the prominent object of 
the vision. That it is Rome that is meant is almost 
universally conceded. Because of the place of bad 
pre-eminence which that power has held, and is yet 
again to hold, in the affairs of the world, the Spirit 
of revelation dwells mainly on it, vss. 7-26. By 
Rome the Jews have been persecuted as by no other 
power; under it the Son of God was crucified; by it 
in its pagan state uncounted multitudes of Christians, 
and more under its papal form, were put to death 
The world is not yet done with it, nor is God. 
But it is with its final form this prediction has to do. 
The Spirit looks rather at the crisis than the course 


of its history. Here this fourth beast has its ten 
horns which correspond to the ten toes of the 
image. In Rev. xiii and xvii it also has the ten 
horns. It is the last stage in its existence that is 

(4) The little horn, vss. 8, 20, 21, 24, 25. It is an 
eleventh horn. It is to spring up from among the 
ten. A comparison of Daniel's fourth beast and its 
little horn with Paul's man of sin (2 Thess. ii), and 
John's beast with seven heads and ten horns (Rev. 
xiii) proves beyond any reasonable doubt that they 
are all one and the same power, the last enemy, the 

In Dan. ii the judgment stone falls on the feet 
and ten toes of the image. In vii the destruction 
of the fourth beast takes place when ten kings are 
ruling and dominated by an eleventh, the little horn. 
In Revelation the beast is seven-headed and ten- 
horned when the Son of God metes out to him his 
just doom. These prophecies co-ordinate and syn- 
chronize with each other, and they all deal with the 
scenes at the end-time. 

These things being so, it follows that the world- 
power remains in some form down to the second 
coming of Christ. This is the clear teaching of 
Daniel, Paul and John. How it is possible to inter- 
pose a millennium this side of the advent, while 
Satan is loose and the beast has things much his 
own way, seems to us a difficult if not an impossible 

V. Vision of the ram and the he-goat, chap. viii. 

These symbols are explained for us in the chapter 
itself. They relate to the second and third empires. 
The two-horned raro is Medo-Persia, vs. 20; the 

DANIEL. 287 

rough goat is Grecia, vs. 21; and the great horn be- 
tween his eyes is the Macedonian conqueror, Alex- 
ander the Great. Most accurate and graphic is the 
description of the swift movements of the goat, and 
the " choler " with which he assaulted the ram. It is 
in exact accord with the historical facts in the case; 
for Persia had invaded Greece and aroused the 
national feeling of resentment in the highest degree; 
hence the " choler " with which the goat rushed upon 
the ram. In three battles Alexander made himself 
master of the world. 

At his death, his empire was parcelled out among 
his four generals, and so " four kingdoms stood up " 
in the room of the one founded by Alexander. Out 
of one of these, the Syrian, there aro&e a " little 
horn" which is the prominent feature in the vision. 

The little horn of the eighth chapter is not to be 
confounded with that of the seventh. The two are 
distinct. That is the last antichrist, the one who is 
yet to arise. This is the Syrian antichrist, Antiochus 
Epiphanes, who appeared about B. C. 175, and who 
was Israel's worst enemy, who harassed and slaugh- 
tered them without pity in his insane effort to impose 
the Greek civilization and heathen religion upon 
them; who profaned the temple by setting up in it 
an idol. It was this man whom the Maccabees so 
heroically combatted. At the same time it should 
be remembered that the antichrist of the Old Testa- 
ment is also the type of the antichrist of the New. 
Antiochus will have his awful counterpart in the man 
of sin, the beast, who will be Israel's and the world's 
last scourge. 

VI. Vision of the seventy weeks, ix. The prophet 
had learned from Jeremiah (xxv, n, 12) that the 


captivity of Judah was to continue for seventy years, 
and he saw that the time had come when the restor- 
ation should be near at hand. Accordingly, he 
sought by prayer and supplication, with fasting and 
humiliation and confession, that God would forgive 
and restore His people. He received for answer a 
further and fuller revelation respecting Israel one 
of the most comprehensive it has pleased the Spirit 
of God to give to men ix, 24-27. The angel Gabriel 
tells Daniel that seventy weeks are determined or 
measured off upon his people and holy city, within 
which period of time God will perform His whole 
work, promised and predicted throughout all Scrip- 

1. Within the compass of these mysterious weeks, 
six mighty events are to take place, vs. 24: viz., the 
termination of Israel's apostasy, arrest of their sins, 
the covering over of their iniquity, the in-bringing 
of abiding righteousness, the verification of what 
vision and prophet have predicted, and the conse- 
cration anew of the holy of holies. Such are the ma- 
jestic promises that are to be fulfilled for Daniel's 
people and city, Israel and Jerusalem, within these 
seventy weeks. To such an end and outcome they 
are appointed or decreed. 

2. Seventy weeks. The word week is retained by 
nearly all the writers on the book because there is 
no English word which exactly expresses the idea 
of the original. It is seventy times seven years that 
is meant, 490 years in all. It is not days that is 
mentioned, a day put for a year, but seventy weeks 
of years. 

3. The seventy weeks are divided into three 
groups, vss. 25-27: viz., seven weeks; sixty-two 

DANIEL. 289 

weeks; one week. Certain very definite events are 
specified as transpiring in each of these groups. The 
rebuilding of Jerusalem in the seven weeks; the cut- 
ting off of Messiah at the end of the sixty-two weeks 
and the appearing and doing of the prince of the 
people who destroy the holy city, in the last or sev- 
entieth week. 

4. From what " commandment," or edict, are these 
seventy weeks to be dated and counted? If we 
could determine the exact starting point, we could 
know precisely when they will run out, when the 
great prediction of these verses will have its accom- 
plishment. Many count from the twentieth year of 
Artaxerxes, when that monarch issued his decree to 
Nehemiah, Neh. ii, i; and accordingly find that the 
second group f the weeks, viz., the sixty-two weeks, 
expired with the death of Messiah, Jesus of Nazar- 
eth. There is another reckoning by Dr. West which 
is worthy of the most serious attention on the part 
of all students of the Bible. Dr. West dates the 
seventy weeks from the issuance of the decree by 
Cyrus, Ezra i, B. C. 536. In the first group of 
seven weeks he finds an interval or gap of fifty-seven 
years; and the death of Messiah takes place at the 
close of the sixty-second in the series. (See his 
" Thousand Years in both Testaments.") 

5. At the close of the sixty-ninth week, the angel 
declares that Messiah the Prince shall be cut off, 
and " there shall be nothing to Him." He announces 
also that the people of the prince that shall come 
shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. We know 
who the people were who fulfilled this prediction, 
the Roman people. In A. D. 70 the Roman eagles 
swooped down on the devoted city, and city and 


temple went down amid the most frightful scenes of 
ruin and devastation. The prince is not with the 
people when they demolish city and temple; he is 
still to come when that event occurs. 

6. This prince comes in connection with the course 
of the last or seventieth week, the last seven years 
of the whole series, vs. 27. It is clear as day that 
the last week is rent off from the other sixty-nine, 
and stands by itself. There is a mighty break be- 
tween the sixty-ninth and the seventieth in the 
series. The death of Christ broke the chain of the 
weeks, for that event sundered the relation then ex- 
isting between God and the chosen people. Jesus 
Himself plainly indicates the rejection of the peo- 
ple in His lamentation over Jerusalem, Matt, xxiii, 
37-39: " Behold, your house is left unto you deso- 
late. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me hence- 
forth, till ye shall say, blessed is He that cometh in 
the name of the Lord," (comp. Luke xix, 41-44). 
Nor are the other prophets silent as to the interval 
which should elapse between the death of Messiah 
and the end His second coming. Hosea points to 
it when he says, " For the children of Israel shall 
abide many days without a king, and without a 
prince, and without a sacrifice," etc., Hos. iii, 4. 
Micah declares they shall be given up until " she 
which travaileth shall bring forth," Micah v, 3. 
Zechariah adds his testimony to the same fact of an 
interval between the rejection of Messiah and the 
final restoration of Israel, Zech. xi, 7-14. The same 
great fact of an interval between Christ's death and 
the rejection of the people for a long period of time 
appears in the parable of the nobleman, Lu. xix, and 
in the Olivet prophecy, Matt. xxiv. It is the firm 

DANIEL. 291 

belief of the present writer that our whole Christian 
dispensation lies between the close of Daniel's sixty- 
ninth and the opening of his seventieth week a 
gap which has run on for nearly nineteen hundred 

In this remarkable prophecy, there are two peo- 
ples: Daniel's people, and the people who should 
destroy the city and sanctuary the Roman people. 
There are two princes: Prince Messiah, who was to 
be cut off and have nothing; and the prince of the 
Roman people, the last antichrist, who is still 

VII. The final vision Daniel's apocalypse, x-xii. 

These three chapters contain one vision, the last 
divine communications Daniel received, of which we 
have any record. At the time he must have been an 
aged man. He had been one of the first captives 
" in the third year of Jehoiakim;" had lived through 
the seventy years of the captivity, and this was now 
the third year of Cyrus. And yet there is no sign of 
declining power, or failing faculties. Indeed, he ap- 
pears rather to have increased in strength, for he 
"understood" this vision, x, I, a statement in 
marked contrast with what is told of other visions, 
vii, 28; viii, 27. 

1. Chapter ten reveals the influence of super- 
natural beings in the affairs of earth. The heavenly 
messenger informs the prophet that he had been 
dispatched with the answer to his petitions on the 
first day of his supplication, but that he had been de- 
layed by the prince of Persia for twenty-one days, 
vss. 12, 13. 

2. Prophetic history of Persia, xi, 1-2. The Spirit 
now goes back and connects these fresh revelations 


with the eighth chapter of the book. He takes up 
the power symbolized by the ram and adds some dis- 
tinctive features to what is there given us. There 
was to be a succession of four kings from the date 
of the vision. These were Cambyses, the impostor 
Smerdis, Darius Hystaspes, and Xerxes. 

3. Prophetic history of the third empire, xi, 3-20. 
The ram of Persia is now dropped, and the he-goat 
of Greece is taken up. The ''mighty king" who 
founds the third empire, Alexander the Great, falls 
in the prime of life and in the plenitude of his con- 
quests, and out of his kingdom four others are 
evolved. It is remarkable that the prophecy asserts 
that no one of Alexander's family should succeed 
him. Power passes from his family altogether, vs. 4. 
Then one of the four is dwelt upon at length the 
Syrian kingdom and its history is traced, in con- 
nection with Egypt, and their doings, with respect 
to the land of Israel. For as Judah lay right between 
the two rival powers, they made it their battle-field, 
and conquered it from each other repeatedly. They 
formed alliances with one another, inter-married, but 
it only proved the prelude to fiercer animosities, and 
more savage outbreaks; brothers, sons, and grand- 
sons espoused the quarrels of their kindred. Such 
was the history of the rival kingdoms of Syria and 
Egypt; such has the Spirit of God depicted it in 
these verses, 5-20. 

4. Prophetic history of Israel's enemy in Macca- 
bean times, xi, 21-35. He is introduced as " a vile 
person." His character, animus and actions are 
fully described; much more so than any other of the 
various monarchs mentioned in the first part of the 
chapter. The reason is that this man was the worst 

DANIEL. 293 

foe Israel had ever yet had, and he is also the truest 
type of the last ferocious foe who shall oppress them, 
the antichrist. For it is believed that the man 
painted in such lurid colors in these verses was An- 
tiochus Epiphanes, who began his bloody and sacri- 
legious career about B. C. 175 a man who, because 
thwarted in his designs upon Greece by the Romans, 
and defeated in all his efforts to extend his kingdom 
into Europe and Africa by the same power, turned 
in his rage on prostrate Judah and wreaked his 
vengeance on its suffering population. 

This is the man who set up the " abomination that 
maketh desolate," vs. 31. The allusion is to the 
idol which he erected in the temple. It was not 
from this verse our Lord quoted the expression in 
Matt, xxiv, 15; but from Dan. xii, n. That of xi, 
31, had already taken place when Jesus quoted the 
saying; but Dan. xii, 1 1, is yet unfulfilled. The ac- 
count of Antiochus extends to verse thirty-five which 
verse prepares the way for a change of subject and 
of time in the prediction. It projects our thoughts 
forward " to the time appointed," to "the time of 
the end," and to the enemy who shall then appear. 

5. Prophetic history of the last foe of God's peo- 
ple, the antichrist, xi, 36-45. He is abruptly intro- 
duced as " the king " in vs. 36. The prediction con- 
cerning Antiochus glides suddenly but naturally 
into that of his antitype who shall appear in the end, 
and be destroyed by the manifestation of the Son of 
God from heaven. By way of pre-eminence he is 
called " the king." In Isa. xxx, 33, we read of 
tophet prepared for "the king;" nor can it be 
doubted but that the same person is there ulti- 
mately referred to, as the connection evidently im- 


plies. The description of " the king " in Daniel is 
strikingly analogous with what is told us of the little 
horn (vii, 20-25); with that of the man of sin (2 
Thess. ii, 1-7); with that of the beast (Rev. xiii). 
Concerning him some things may be noted. 

(1) He is still future. No one can read and study 
the prophecies relating to him without having this 
conviction forced upon him. 

(2) He is a real person. It is not a system of evil 
nor an organized body under the delusion and lead- 
ership of the devil, like Mohammedanism or popery 
that is meant. It is freely admitted that Romanism 
bears an amazing likeness to " the king," and to the 
man of sin, in its origin, history, animus, idolatry, 
corruption of the truth, persecutions and blasphe- 
mies. All that popery is and far more. But bad as 
it is as an apostate church, still it has not yet reached 
the fearful height and towering eminence of wick- 
edness which the Bible attributes to the antichrist. 
Something worse than anything yet seen is coming, 
viz., the man of sin, the king. 

(3) His appearance is at the " end," the day of the 
Lord, Dan. ii, 44; vii, 13, 22, 26; ix, 26, 27; 2 Thess. 
ii, I, 2; Rev. xix, 11-21. 

(4) He will be the chief adversary and enemy of 
Daniel's people, the Jews, vii, 21, 25; xii, i; Matt, 

(5) He will invent a new object of worship and 
compel all to do it homage on pain of death, xi, 38; 
Rev. xiii, 14, 15. 

(6) He will perform miracles of some sort, 2, 
Thess. ii, g, 10; Rev. xiii, 13. 

(7) He will exalt himself above all, xi, 36; 2 
Thess. ii, 4. 

DANIEL. 295 

(8) He will be the antagonist of Christ, Rev. xiii, 
6; xix, 19. 

(9) He will be destroyed by the personal appear- 
ing of the Son of God from heaven, Dan. vii, 13; 2 
Thess. ii, 8; Rev. xix, 11-21. 

Thus these three men, Daniel, Paul, and John, 
prophesy of the mighty scenes and events of the 
time of the end, the day of the Lord. They 
solemnly assure us that, far from the Church " con- 
verting the world " evil will prevail to the end, wick- 
edness intensify, culminating at length in the apos- 
tasy and revelation of the man of sin the anti-christ. 
They jointly and severally declare that the great ad- 
versary will be destroyed by the coming of Jesus 
Christ Himself. Our Lord's own testimony is iden- 
tical with theirs, Matt, xxiv, xxv; Mark xiii; Lu. xxi. 

6. Three events of the end-time, Dan. xii, I, 2. 
The first of these is, a time of unparalleled trouble, 
vs. I. Our Lord in His Olivet prophecy speaks of 
the same unequaled tribulation, Matt, xxiv, 21; 
Mark xiii, 19. It is the great tribulation. The sec- 
ond event is, deliverance for an elect remnant of the 
T ews from the tribulation, vs. I. Jeremiah refers to 
the same deliverance, xxx, 7: " It is even the time 
of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it." 
(Comp. Zech. xiii, 8, 9.) The third event of the last 
time is, the resurrection of the righteous, vs. 2: 
" And many of them that sleep in the dust of the 
earth shall wake, some to everlasting life, and some 
to shame and everlasting contempt." This can only 
be an eclectic resurrection. Many does not mean 
all. Besides, the real force of the words is, " and 
many from among the dead shall awake," (so Tre- 
gelles, West, etc.). It is in exact accord with Rev. 


xx, 4, 5, where the first and second resurrection are 

7. Dates in Dan. xii. Three particularly are men- 
tioned. In verse seven the revealer solemnly swears 
with uplifted hands that the mighty events at the 
end-time shall be accomplished in a " time, times, 
and an half" 3^ years, or 1,260 days. It is the 
same number that occurs so often in Daniel and 
Revelation. It is the period of the tribulation, when 
wickedness and sin and crime will culminate, the 
antichrist having everything his own way. It is the 
last half of the last week of Dan. ix, 27, at the close 
of which the apocalypse of Christ will take place 
whereby the enemy will be forever overthrown. 
After that, thirty days more pass, and the sanctuary 
is cleansed, and all things made ready for the mil- 
lennial glory; forty-five days more pass, and full 
blessing is enjoyed, Dan. xii, II, 12. 

A precious word is addressed the prophet for his 
comfort: " But go thy way till the end be, for thou 
shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the 
days " a promise that might well have sent him 
singing to the grave. " Thou shalt rest." Toil and 
trouble have been thine; grief and disappointment 
as well as splendid victories, glorious deliverances; 
much indeed has been mingled in thy cup, and thou 
hast drunk it all without a murmur or a sigh; thou 
hast been true and loyal; and now all is over; the 
long, strange journey is finished. Never more shall 
king or emperor honor or degrade thee; no more 
shalt thou be the target for the cruel shafts of jeal- 
ous courtiers. Go, and rest, and wait; for resurrec- 
tion is coming, and thou shalt shine above the 
splendor of the firmament's gleam. 


The arrangement of the twelve minor prophets h 
in a sense chronological; that is, the earlier are put 
at the beginning, the later at the end of the collec- 
tion. The order of time, however, is not observed 
with strict exactness; for Joel and Jonah are prob- 
ably the oldest of the twelve. By whom the collec- 
tion was made is somewhat difficult to determine, 
though the constant tradition that Ezra particularly, 
and probably also Nehemiah and Malachi, had very 
much to do in forming the canon, has never been suc- 
cessfully contradicted. 

The great theme of these prophets is Israel 
primarily, then the nations that were either the foes 
of Israel, or were used of God for the punishment of 
His disobedient people. Nowhere do we find sin 
rebuked with more awful severity, the true meaning 
of the law more clearly expounded, or the future 
glory of Zion more confidently predicted. Israel's 
relation to God, the binding force of the Mosaic 
legislation, and the apostasy of the people from the 
Lord and their transgression of the law given at 
Sinai these and the like fundamental truths afford 
the ground for the indictment against the chosen 
people, as also the ground of the appeals to them to 
repent and return to God. But while they denounced 
sin and announced judgment, they foretold the glory 
of the latter days, the re-gathering of scattered 


Israel, the re-erection of David's fallen tabernacle, 
the coming of Messiah the second time, and the 
blessedness of the millennial age. Wrath is not the 
main topic of the minor prophets any more than it is 
of the major. God's love and pity, His yearning 
over the wayward people, His desire so often ex- 
pressed to comfort and bless them, are prominent 
features of these books, as of the whole Bible. It is 
impossible to read it with any attention without per- 
ceiving this central truth. 

It was a special function of the minor prophets to 
minister to the faith and hope of the few loyal souls 
who still clung to the truth of God, and who wor- 
shipped Him in sincerity. The faithful remnant is 
found in these books as likewise in the greater 
prophets. God never forgets those who are true to 
Him. He always has some special word, some sweet 
and tender promise and message of comfort for 
them. Hence we find in these prophecies the pres- 
ence of the remnant and communications addressed 
particularly to them. 

These twelve books may be classified into four 
groups, with three in each group. 

1. Hosea, Amos, and Micah, who speak of the fall 
of Israel (Samaria), and of the overthrow that already 
threatened Judah. They pronounce judgment on 
the people, while unfolding with more or less fulness 
the dealings of God in grace at the end. With the 
exception of Amos, who prophesied in the early 
reign of Uzziah, they belong to the times of Uzziah, 
Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. 

2. Obadiah, Jonah, and Nahum, who prophesy 
against certain Gentile nations; mainly Edom and 


3. Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, who were 
post-captivity prophets, the first two dealing with 
the restored exiles, and the last bearing witness to 
the failure of the people and the coming of Messiah 
and His forerunner. 

4. Joel, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, who have a 
peculiar character such as marks them off from the 
rest. They chiefly speak of the end, the closing 
scenes, the great crisis toward which the world is 
fast hastening. They are telesmatic, i. e., they deal 
with the last days, the great day of the Lord. 


The prophet Hosea was contemporary with Isaiah 
i, I. Under the reigns of the same kings of Judah 
he exercised his ministry as did Isaiah. At the time 
Jeroboam was king of Israel. Of course this was 
Jeroboam II., one of the most powerful monarchs 
that ruled over the ten tribes. In opening this first 
book of the minor prophets we must retrace our 
steps in Israel's history, and keep in mind that he 
antedates Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel at least one 
hundred and fifty years. 

Hosea gives us a vivid picture of the times in 
which he lived, and of the political and moral state 
of the people. His style is very concise, terse and 
abrupt, abounding in figures and metaphors that 
sometimes are intermingled. The transitions from 
one topic to another are frequent and sudden. In 
consequence the book is a difficult one to interpret, 
but patient study, relying on the guidance of the 
Spirit of God who alone is the competent interpreter 
of the Scriptures, will open rich mines of truth. One 
says he " exhibits the appearance of very remote 
antiquity." Another compares him to a bee flying 
from flower to flower, swift and restless, but always 
gathering and always laden. The title, i, I, indi- 
cates the time of his prophecy, and is at the same 
time the authentication of the book. The second 
verse of the first chapter is somewhat peculiar both 

HOSEA. 301 

for its language and its aim. Mr. Deane translates 
it, " The beginning (of that which) Jehovah spoke 
by Hosea." The revision has, " When the Lord 
spake at the first by Hosea." But what is the be- 
ginning here mentioned? It cannot mean that 
Hosea was the first of the prophets by whom God 
made known His will to Israel, or the first of the 
minor prophets, for both Jonah and Joel, it is be- 
lieved, preceded him. The meaning seems to be, 
the beginning of the prophecies which Hosea was 
commissioned to make known. The first verse is 
the heading for the whole book, and its authentica- 
tion; the second verse is the special heading of the 
first section of the book which extends to the end of 
the third chapter. " By Hosea " is literally " in 
Hosea." It is identical with Heb. i, I, where the 
revision has " in the prophets." 

The book may be divided into two parts. Part I, 
chaps, i-iii. God's judgment as to the state of the 
people, with intimations of repudiation and restora- 
tion. Part II, chaps, iv-xiv, in which Israel's sins 
are described, warnings and threatenings are an- 
nounced, expostulations and appeals are made, and 
promises of final recovery. Topically, the book may 
be summarized thus: I. The relation which God 
formed between Himself and Israel originally; it was 
like that of marriage. 2. Israel's unfaithfulness in 
this relation. 3. Divorcement of the people from 
the Lord announced. 4. The people's guilt. 5. 
Punishment certain, captivity predicted. 6. Re- 
monstrances with the guilty people, and entreaties 
to repent and reform. 7. Promise of a final and 
genuine repentance and restoration. 

It is hardly needful to remind the reader that 


Hosea addressed particularly the kingdom of Israel. 
He designates them in various ways, as Israel, 
Ephraim, Samaria, Jacob. Ephraim is specified be- 
cause the largest of the ten tribes that separated from 
the house of David, and because it was the leader in 
rebellion and apostasy. The first king of the North- 
ern Kingdom was Jeroboam, an Ephrathite, who or- 
ganized apostasy, for he established for political 
reasons idolatrous sanctuaries at Dan and Bethel. 
It was one chief aim of the ministry of Hosea to re- 
cover Israel from idolatry and to restore them to 
obedience to God. To effect this end, he painted 
with no feeble or faltering hand the horrors of their 
sin, proclaimed the judgments of God against them, 
and appealed to them with the most passionate en- 
treaties to repent. To what extent his ministry was 
successful we have no means of knowing. Some, no 
doubt, heard and heeded the warning voice; but on 
the nation as such no permanent impression was 
made. In God's economies, however, no waste is 
permitted. What appears often to us to be failure, 
what may have seemed to Hosea to be such, was 
with God success, for the prophet accomplished pre- 
cisely what it was intended he should. 

Some details of the book may be pointed out. 

I. Hosea's marriage with Gomer, i, 3. Was it real, 
or only symbolic? This is the "vexed question" of 
the book. The ancient writers held quite generally 
that no literal union with her was formed by the 
prophet. Augustine's rule for such passages of the 
Bible as this is wise: If the language of Scripture 
taken literally would involve something incongruous 
or morally wrong, the figurative sense must be pre- 

HOSEA. 303 

There is something so unnatural and revolting In 
the thought that a prophet of God should be divine- 
ly ordered to marry an impure woman, and the 
whole transaction is so dishonoring to God, that it 
is not surprising that men should seek to relieve the 
record of all literality, and should interpret it as a 
vision. Yet the language is so explicit, the names 
of the parties being given, with the absence of any 
intimation of its being an allegory or a parable, that 
we seem to be shut up to the belief that some sort 
of transaction really took place whereby Hosea and 
Gomer were brought together as husband and wife. 
Pusey's words are worthy of serious consideration: 
" There is no ground to justify our taking as a para- 
ble what holy Scripture relates as a fact. There is 
no instance in which it can be shown that holy Script- 
ure relates that a thing was done, and that with the 
names of persons, and yet that God did not intend 
it to be taken as literally true. There would then 
be left no test of what was real, what imaginary; and 
the histories of holy Scripture would be left to be a 
prey to individual caprice, to be explained away as 
parables when men misliked them." 

The view which commends itself to us is this: 
Hosea really married Gomer. Her loose character 
is given her in the chapter by anticipation; she was 
not a fallen woman (or at least was conducting her- 
self properly) when the prophet took her to wife, 
although God foresaw and announced what she 
would do after her marriage. Had she been a harlot 
at the time of her union with Hosea : she would not 
have served as a type or symbol of Israel at alL It 
was only as a wife who proved unfaithful to 
marriage covenant that she became the liviDg- 
ample of Israel's infidelity and apostasy fooa God. 


To them were born three children and names were 
given them significant of the fate of the people. 
Afterward, Corner like Israel became unfaithful and 
left the prophet's home, and became the paramour 
of another man. She seems to have sunk so low 
into vice and degradation that her position was that 
of a slave, for the prophet bought her back at one- 
half of the price of a female slave in money, and a 
portion of barley, iii. That the woman spoken of in 
chapter three is to be identified with Corner appears 
from the following considerations: (i) The analogy 
requires it. It was Israel that stood in the relation 
of wife to Jehovah; no other nation was admitted to 
such relation. (2) The woman is the one already 
married, but unfaithful, which was precisely the case 
with Israel. (3) If she had not been the prophet's 
wife, and had gone away from him, there would be 
no point in comparing his love for her with that of 
the Lord for His erring people. (4) A command to 
love another man's wife to whom he was still at- 
tached would be repugnant to every idea of justice 
and propriety. Either the woman of chapter three 
was Comer, or the whole scene is a vision. The 
word is, not " take," but " love," i. e., renew thy 
kindness to her, and receive her back into thy house 
(so Henderson). But she was to live apart from her 
husband (and he from her) for many days, iii, 3; so 
Israel was to remain for many days a spoiled and 
subject people. The prophetic action in this singu- 
lar case indicated in a striking way the apostasy of 
the ten tribes, God's repudiation of them, their cap- 
tivity and final recovery. 

2. Israel's state morally in Hosea's time. It was as 
bad as it could well be. The idolatry inaugurated 

HOSEA. 305 

by Jeroboam had now continued for more than 150 
years, and had diffused every form of vice among 
the people. Chap, iv, 2, gives a summary of the 
crimes that filled the land; swearing, lying, murder, 
theft, adultery an awful brood. The king and 
princes were drunken profligates, vii, 3-7. The idol- 
atrous priests spread their shameful festivals and 
deceitful oracles over all the land, iv, 12-14; x > xii 
xiii, 2; they even waylaid and murdered those who 
were passing on their way to Jerusalem, vi, 9. The 
people were ignorant, debased, dishonest and incor- 
rigible, iv, 6, 10, 12-14, 17; xi, 7; xii, 7. The nation 
had forsaken the Lord and relied on human help. 
Sometimes it was Assyria, sometimes Egypt, they 
turned to, never really to God, v, 13; vii, 8-12; viii,9, 
10. A listless security blinded their minds, v, 4; xii, 
8. Spasmodic repentance in a moment of danger 
was professed, vi, 4; vii, 16. The root of all the evil 
was, they had broken covenant with God, and He 
and His word were ignored and forgotten, vi, 7; iv, 
1-6; viii, 12. It is a frightful indictment which God 
by the mouth of His servant Hosea brings against 

3. God's compassion toward His unfaithful peo- 
ple. It is very remarkable; it is like Him. We see 
it in the strange narrative of Gomer; in the names 
Lo-ruhamah, unpitied, and Lo-ammi, not my people, 
changed into Ruhamah, pitied, and Ammi, my peo- 
ple, ii, i. We see it in the touching expostulations 
and tender appeals as in xi, 8; xiv, 1-5. Nothing 
can exceed the earnestness and love with which the 
Lord entreats Ephraim to return to Him. Look at 
xi, 8, and see how Mercy interposes her four " hows," 
as if the great and good God could not possibly 


give them up. Many an eye has filled at the name- 
less advertisement which sometimes appears in the 
public press: " Come home and all will be forgiven: 
we wait for you." But God names Ephraim and 
Himself, and writes it down in His book that all 
may read: " O, Ephraim, thou hast destroyed thy- 
self; but come home again, come home." It is grace 
abounding, love exceeding. 

4. Messianic predictions. These are not numer- 
ous in Hosea, but some there are. In iii, 5, Israel's 
return under a second David is announced (comp. 
Jer. xxx, 9; Ezek. xxxiv, 23, 25, etc.). That the 
David here mentioned is Messiah is evident from 
the other passages cited above. As Messiah is 
David's son and heir He is often called by David's 
name. Twice our Lord quotes vi, 6, " I will have 
mercy, and not sacrifice," Matt, ix, 13; xii, 17. In 
His use of the passage it is clear that He is the 
speaker in it. Hosea xi, I, is quoted in Matt, ii, 15, 
and applied to the flight into Egypt. Israel was 
the Messianic nation, and its history presaged and 
adumbrated the earthly life of our Lord Jesus, xiii, 
14, seems to be referred to in I Cor. xv, 55, and is 
applied to the resurrection of the saints when the 
Lord comes again. 

5. Promises of Israel's restoration, i, 10, n; ii, 
16-20, 23; iii, 4, 5; xiv. It is the concurrent testi- 
mony of all the prophets. We may spiritualize these 
and similar texts if we will, and apply them to the 
revival of the Church, but beneath our uses of them 
there is still God's unchangeable promise to the 
chosen people. Delitzsch's fine word is worth re- 
membering: " Interpretation is one; application is 


Of the prophet Joel we know nothing beyond 
what is told us in i, I. He was the son of Pethuel; 
but who Pethuel was, or where he dwelt, is unknown. 
Several persons of the name of Joel are mentioned 
in the Bible, but of few of them is less information 
given than of this prophet. From internal evidence 
mainly it is inferred that he was a native of Judah. 
His message is addressed to Judah. It is equally 
uncertain when he prophesied, or where he died. It 
is believed by some commentators that Amos i, 2 is 
a quotation from Joel iii, 16, and if so, then he must 
have preceded Amos. As this prophet lived during 
the reigns of Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam II. of 
Israel, the ministry of Joel must have been anterior 
to that time. The absence of any reference to the 
Assyrians or Babylonians in the prophecy affords 
some corroberative proof. Altogether, the date B. 
C. 800 may approximately be fixed as that of Joel's 

The first verse of the first chapter, as usual, is the 
inspired endorsement of the whole prophecy, the 
seal of its authenticity, " The word of the Lord that 
came to Joel, the son of Pethuel." 

It is not easy to give a satisfactory analysis of 
this prophecy, for the book is a compact unit. The 
following is offered more as a suggestion than as an 
analysis. Part I., Devastation of the land by armies 


of locusts, and by drought, announced, chaps, i-ii, 
ii. Part II., Exhortation to repentance urged by 
many gracious promises, chap, ii, 12-32. Part III., 
Prediction of the day of the Lord, the judgment of 
the nations, and the glorious state of peace and 
prosperity to be enjoyed in the times of the Messiah, 
chap. iii. These parts, however, are very closely 
bound together in the prophecy. For out of the 
prediction of the impending scourge springs natur- 
ally the call to repentance, and penitence is urged 
by weighty motives and promises, such as the re- 
moval of the scourge and plentiful rainfall. Nor is 
it less natural for the prophet to pass from the ma- 
terial blessings, held, out to the spiritual, an abun- 
dant effusion of the Spirit upon the repentant peo- 
ple. And just as naturally he passes from these to 
the days of Messiah, the days of judgment, favor, 
blessing. Unity and progress characterize the book 
of Joel. 

The occasion of the prophecy was the invasion of 
the land by successive swarms of locusts, and exces- 
sive drought, which threatened the country with de- 
struction. But that Joel's message extends beyond 
his own times, and is not exhausted in them, we shall 
presently see. 

I. Invasion and desolation of the land by locusts, 
i, 2-16. The plague is described in a very terse way 
in verse four. The four insects there mentioned are 
not so many species, as our English words would in- 
dicate, but locusts, either in their varieties, or more 
probably in the devastation they effect. Henderson 
translates the verse thus: "That which the gnawing 
locust hath left, the swarming locust hath devoured; 
and that which the swarming locust hath left, the 

JOEL. 309 

licking locust hath devoured; and that which the 
licking locust hath left, the consuming locust hath 
devoured." In Palestine the destructive work of 
these insects is often incalculable. Note, God does 
not need to summon the great forces of nature, as 
the earthquake, the lightning or the storm, to make 
effective His judgments against His rebellious creat- 
ure, man; He can make the most insignificant instru- 
ments to fulfill His purposes. 

The prophet then calls upon various classes to 
mourn the drunkards, because their wine ceases, 
vss. 5-7; the people, because their fields, crops and 
trees are destroyed, vss. 8-12; the priests, because 
the meat-offering and the drink-offering " is with- 
holden," vs. 13. The priests also are exhorted to 
proclaim a fast, vs. 14. 

2. A drought succeeds the invasion of the locusts, 
or accompanies them, vss. 17-20. 

3. The prophet urges the people to fasting and 
humiliation because of the terrible affliction which 
has befallen the land, chap, ii, 1-17. In the first part 
of the second chapter he returns to the invasion of 
the locusts, and describes it with imagery the most 
forcible and graphic. The warlike armies of the de- 
vouring insects, their battle-march, onset and vic- 
tory, their spreading themselves with irresistible 
might over the land is drawn with a masterly hand. 

4. The call to repentance is enforced by promises, 
ii, 18-27. The pity of the Lord is one great motive 
held out to the people to secure their penitence, vs. 
18. The promise of the removal of the scourge is 
another, vs. 20; of plentiful rain, and crops another, 
vs. 23; and the out-pouring of the Spirit is another, 
vss. 19-32. 


Such is tnc " historical setting," as men name it, 
of the prophecy of Joel. But is this all there is in 
the book? Joel's prophecy is telesmatic. It relates 
to the end, the day of the Lord, the coming of the 
Lord, and the mighty events which are associated 
with it. The book deals in general terms with the 
characteristic features of that day, and with the 
blessedness that is to be brought to the earth at 
that time. The proof for these statements is found 
in the book itself. 

I. The prediction of the out-pouring of the Spirit, 
ii, 28-32. By the words, " And it shall come to pass 
afterward," the prophet intimates that the promise 
of the Spirit was not to be expected nor fulfilled 
immediately. A period of time would elapse before 
its realization. The day of Pentecost witnessed its 
fulfillment, Acts ii. The apostle Peter interprets it 
as having reference to the times of the Messiah, 
" And it shall come to pass in the last days," Acts 
ii, 17, an expression which invariably designates 
Messiah's days, Isa. ii, 2; Heb. i, 2. 

The accomplishment of the promise began on the 
day of Pentecost, Acts ii, 16-21. Peter does not say 
that Joel's prophecy was exhausted then, but, " This 
is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel." We 
have the earnest of the Spirit, 2 Cor. i, 22. Every 
believer is indwelt by the Spirit, and the Church has 
the Spirit, and He is in the world applying redemp- 
tion to all those who are called and chosen of God 
unto salvation; but it can hardly be said that He is 
now poured out on all flesh, that He is given to all 
mankind. There will come a time when Messiah's 
" days " will be fully inaugurated, and then the 
Spirit will be poured out on all. So Isaiah predicts, 

JOEL. 311 

1 'And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and 
all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the 
Lord hath spoken it," xl, 5. 

2. " The day of the Lord." Five times this expres- 
sion is used in Joel, i, 15; ii, I, n, 31; iii, 14. "The 
day of the Lord " is a phrase of frequent occurrence 
in the Old Testament, and always refers, we think, 
to the execution of judgment on the earth. It some- 
times means God's judicial interpositions when He 
is not actually present; but in its full sense it implies 
the judgment of the great day, the last day. This is 
its almost exclusive use in the New Testament. No 
doubt the judgments announced in Joel had partial 
fulfillment in the scourge of locusts, and much more 
in the destruction of Jerusalem and dispersion of the 
Jews, forty years after Pentecost. But his descrip- 
tions of the day of the Lord were not exhausted by 
those events, terrible as the second of these was. 
Vake iii, 2, 14-16. Unquestionably the prophet here 
looks forward to the final day. The proof is at hand, 
and is conclusive. Zechariah, who prophesied some 
three centuries after Joel, announced the gathering 
of hostile armies at Jerusalem, the day of the Lord, 
the coming of the Lord, and the awful judg- 
ments that shall be visited upon the ungod- 
ly, Zech. xiv. 11-7. That the two prophets pre- 
dict the same events, a comparison will show. 
Let any one confront Joel iii with Zech. xiv and any 
doubt about it will disappear. Both speak of the 
time of the end, the day of the Lord. Both an- 
nounce the gathering of armies against Jerusalem, 
and of the miseries and suffering attending a siege. 
Both speak of the coming of the Lord, and of de- 
liverance through His mighty intervention in the 


behalf of His afflicted people; both, of the destruc- 
tion of the enemies. And both predict the peace, 
prosperity, and blessedness that ensue. 

3. "The harvest "in Joel iii, 13. The judgments 
predicted in this chapter do not run parallel with 
the history of the nations on whom they are visited, 
but are those which shall fall in the last days, when 
Judah's grievances are made Jehovah's own, and are 
treated as done against Himself. The nations are 
summoned to quit their peaceful occupations, to get 
ready their arms, and come to the valley of Jehos- 
haphat, the valley of decision. There the great 
question between them and God is settled; there the 
" harvest" is reaped. The harvest of Joel undoubt- 
edly corresponds with the harvest of the parable of 
the wheat and tares, Matt, xiii, 37-42; and with the 
harvest of Rev. xiv, 18-20. The figures in all these 
passages are double; i. e., there is both a harvest of 
grain and of the vintage, exactly what is found in 
Joel; and the harvest is the end of the age. 

4. Judah's restoration, iii, I. It is most extraor- 
dinary that prophet after prophet announces it, as if 
the Spirit of God would make assurance doubly sure. 
It was fulfilled in the return from Babylon; it will be 
more abundantly realized when the chosen people, 
now dispersed among the nations of the earth, shall 
be brought back to their own land and to God. 

From all this and much more, it appears that God 
had far more in mind than to address words of warn- 
ing and of promise to His people in the days of His 
servant Joel. He spoke to His people through the 
prophet at Pentecost and at the destruction of Jeru- 
salem; and will speak to them when the last restora- 
tion time comes, and when the last days arrive. 


In the reign of Jeroboam I. a man of God came 
out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Bethel 
(i Kings xiii, i), who confronted the king at his 
altar, and foretold its desecration by a prince yet 
unborn. While Jeroboam II. reigned over Israel, 
another man of God came out of Judah, and at 
Bethel (Amos vii, 13) cried against the sin of the 
people and prophesied the fall of Samaria. It was 
Amos, one of the most ancient of the prophets 
whose ministry, according to Home, Angus, etc., 
lay between the years B. C. 810-785. He was the 
contemporary of Hosea, probably also of Isaiah, as 
verse one of chapter one would indicate. His na- 
tive place was Tekoa, a few miles south of Bethle- 
hem, a region adapted for grazing, and for no other 
purpose, we are told. His call to the prophetic office 
he thus describes: " I was no prophet, neither was I 
a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gath 
erer of sycamore fruit; and the Lord took me as I 
followed the flock and the Lord said unto me, Go, 
prophesy unto my people Israel," vii, 14, 15. He 
was not a prophet by succession; he was not trained 
in any of the prophetic schools; he sat at the feet of 
no great teacher; he passed through no preliminary 
or preparatory study. He was only a shepherd on 
the wild uplands about Tekoa, and he combined 
with his pastoral life the care of the sycamore trees 


in the neighborhood. Little dreamed he while thus 
engaged amid the rugged scenery of his native place 
that he should stand in the presence of kings and 
people, and utter the sharp and threatening word of 
the Lord against the sinful practices of a nation. 
God called him from his humble walk as " cowherd," 
as one has named him, and sent him forth to be His 
mouth to a rebellious and idolatrous people, sent him 
forth to be tried, opposed, persecuted, discouraged, 
weary, but to finish his mission right manfully. God 
is never straightened for instruments. If priests and 
ministers fail in their testimony through indolence, 
perverseness and apostasy, He will raise up those who 
stand outside of the regular calling altogether, and 
filling them with His Spirit and grace send them 
forth on His errands. 

We learn from i, I, that the words Amos "saw" 
concerning Israel began " two years before the 
earthquake." This earthquake cannot have occurred 
after the seventeenth year of Uzziah, since Jeroboam 
II. died in the fifteenth year of that king's reign. 
Probably it was some years before Jeroboam's death 
that Amos was called to witness against the iniquity 
of Israel. The earthquake here mentioned made a 
lasting impression. It was remembered by Zecha- 
riah three hundred years afterward, Zech. xiv, 5. It 
is singular that the sole account of it should be 
found in the prophetic books; the historical having 
no trace of it. Josephus mentions it, and says it oc- 
curred at the time Uzziah was smitten with leprosy, 
2 Chron. xxvi, 16-21. The king was bent on offering 
incense on the golden altar. The high priest for- 
bade him. The monarch, angered at the resistance, 
boldly set forward toward the holy place, when lo! 

AMOS. 315 

the ground began to rock beneath his feet; the tem- 
ple swayed back and forth as a leaf shaken in the 
wind; the Mount of Olives shook and reeled; the 
earth cleft asunder; and the dreadful leprosy 
mounted to the king's forehead. 

1. The design of the book is quite apparent. The 
main object is to witness against the idolatry of 
Israel, against its concomitant evils, effeminacy, dis- 
soluteness, and immoralities of every kind. His min- 
istry was confined to the Northern Kingdom. Judah 
is mentioned, indeed, as an object of judgment, as 
also other nations, but only incidentally. Amos ap- 
peared on the hills of Samaria to denounce the 
nobles for their luxuriousness and despotism, iv, i; 
at Bethel's sanctuary to predict the fall of the altar, 
and of the royal house and of the kingdom, iii, 14, 
15; v, 4-6. It was this prophet who uttered that 
solemn, piercing cry which was addressed to the 
royal family and the ten tribes, " Prepare to meet 
thy God, O Israel," iv, 12. 

2. The contents of the book may be arranged 
under three divisions: I. Burden of the nations, i, ii. 
II. Three addresses to Israel, iii-vi. III. A series of 
five visions, with explanations, warnings and prom- 
ises, vii-ix. 

(i) Burden of the nations, chaps, i, ii. They are 
those which were contiguous to Israel. He specifies 
the sins of each as it comes in review before him. 
The storm passses without pausing in its course, 
sweeping on irresistibly over Syria, Philistia, Tyre, 
Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah; then stops to pour 
out its fullest woes on Israel. Here it rests, and 
gathers blackness, and thunders long and loud. 
There may be, as has been thought, an object in the 


prophet's thus arraigning one nation after another 
before he begins to deal with the Northern Kingdom. 
Thus would he secure a hearing, win attention, and 
so gain a more favorable hearing for the awful ti- 
dings he had to deliver in the name of Jehovah. Like 
Paul, Amos would catch them with guile, 2 Cor. 
xii, 16. 

(2) The three addresses to Israel follow, iii-vi. 
In the first address the prophet reminds the people 
of their obligations to the Lord; charges on their 
conscience their transgressions, and warns them of 
the penalty, chap. iii. The fact of their being God's 
people, redeemed out of Egypt, and chosen before 
all others, instead of being a palliation of their sin, 
was rather its aggravation, and would be the ground 
of more strict reckoning with them, vss. I, 2. God 
hath revealed to His prophet what is soon to come 
to pass: An enemy shall press Israel on every side, 
invade the whole land, and a mere wreck and frag- 
ment of the nation will be left, no more than a 
courageous shepherd snatches from the jaws of a 
lion the two shank-bones and a bit of ear, vss. n, 
12. The allusion, no doubt, is to Assyria. 

The second address, chap, iv, is taken up with re- 
proofs for prevailing sins, and with the chastise- 
ments with which they have already been visited. 
Oppression of the poor and weak, intemperance, 
wantonness, unauthorized worship at Bethel and 
Gilgal these sins are charged upon them, and are 
shown to be the primal cause of the drought, famine 
and pestilence which they had suffered. But all 
*hese divine visitations were only harbingers and 
heralds of far worse woes to come. Since chastise- 
ment and paternal discipline fail to attain their ob- 

AMOS. 817 

ject, exterminating judgments are on the way. 
Therefore, " Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel." 

The third address, chaps, v, vi, contains a call to 
repentance, and predicts the overthrow of the king- 
dom and the subsequent captivity. With lamenta- 
tions and profound grief the fall of the virgin 
daughter of Israel is announced. The helpless wail 
of the miserable people, the summons of profes- 
sional mourners, the shouts of the conquerors and 
the cries of the vanquished, all is set before guilty 
Israel with unfaltering fidelity. Yet the Lord, the 
prophet tells them, is pitiful; His voice is lifted in 
mercy and entreaty: " Seek the Lord and ye shall 
live." Nevertheless, he warns them in the name of 
Jehovah, the great and dreadful God, that no mere 
outward service of feasts and offerings will avail to 
arrest the approaching doom. The reform that will 
serve to avert the judgments, must be one that is 
genuine, spiritual, and deep; one that affects the 
heart and conduct alike; one that will be a thorough 
conversion from sin to holiness, and from the service 
of idols to that of the living God. 

(3) The visions, and denunciations of judgments 
which are connected with them, occupy the remain- 
ing chapters of the book, vii-ix. The first is a vision 
of locusts devouring the land. The second is a 
vision of fire, all-devouring. The third is a vision of 
the Lord with a plumb-line in His hand measuring 
a wall to cast it down. At the close of each of the 
first two visions Amos intercedes for Israel who of 
course is aimed at in all, and his intercession is 
heard and the threatening turned away for the time. 
But afterward there is no further intercession, and it is 
intimated to the prophet that God will cease to hear 


any plea for them, their doom is sealed, vii, 8; viii, 2. 
The three visions mentioned above are thought to 
symbolize three successive invasions of the land, 
each increasing over the preceding in severity. The 
first was that of Pul, king of Assyria, who exacted 
one thousand talents of silver from king Menahem, 
and retired, probably in consequence of Amos' in- 
tercession, 2 Kings xv, 19-21. The second invasion 
was that of Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, who took 
possession of the east and north of the territory of 
Israel, and carried many of the inhabitants into cap- 
tivity, 2 Kings xvi, cf. 2 Kings xv, 29. Doubtless 
the judgment was again staid at the instance of 
Amos' prayer. The third was that of Shalmaneser 
who put an end to the kingdom of the ten tribes, 
and removed the people to Assyria, 2 Kings xvii. 
In connection with the third vision distinct reference 
is made to the sacrificial heights and shrines of Israel 
as if to draw attention to the fact that the reason of 
the judgment is traced to the idolatry and other 
guilty practices of the people. Amaziah, the priest 
of Bethel, incensed against the repeated denuncia- 
tions of this prophet of God, and perhaps also con- 
science smitten, brought against him before king 
Jeroboam the charge of treason, and openly sought 
to have him silenced, at the same time quietly ad- 
vising him to flee to Judah, vii, 1017. Amos' reply 
is a prediction against the priest and his family. We 
nowhere find in the historical books its fulfillment. 
None who observe how briefly the story of Israel's 
fall and Samaria's three years' siege is told in 2 
Kings xvii will be surprised at the silence of Scrip- 
ture about Amaziah. There much is said of the peo- 
ple's sins, nothing of their sufferings. 



The fourth is a vision of ripe fruit, chap. viii. The 
basket of summer fruit which the prophet saw repre- 
sented the guilty nation now ripe for judgment. 
Long time they had gone on in transgression, heed- 
less ot every warning, deaf to every entreaty. And 
the Lord, merciful and gracious, with whom judg- 
ment is His strange work, had suspended the penalty 
they had incurred. Now at length the cup of iniq- 
uity was full; punishment could no longer be de- 
layed; and the Lord said, "The end is come upon 
my people of Israel; I will not again pass them by 
any more." 

The fifth is a vision of the Lord standing beside, 
or upon the altar, commanding to smite, chap. ix. 
It is disputed what altar is meant that of Bethel or 
that at Jerusalem. If we confront chap, iii, 14 with 
ix, I, we will be helped to some right understanding 
of the point. But it is not very material to the 
apprehending of the prophecy which is meant. The 
altar itself is of subordinate importance. The prime 
thought is that Jehovah Himself is directing the 
judgment in such a manner that Israel shall in no 
wise escape. He is its executioner. 

The book closes with a magnificent promise of 
resurrection and glory for the fallen tent of the 
house of David, ix, 11-12; and of the prosperity that 
shall attend it, vss. 13-15. It is quoted in Acts xv, 
15-17 by James, and applied to the ingathering of 
Gentile believers into the Church, but an ingathering 
which is to be followed by divine favor shown to the 
house ot David, and to the outcasts of Israel. The 
promise looks on to the period when the purposes 
of God touching both Jews and Gentiles shall be 
made good in the realization of universal blessing. 


The name of Obadiah which stands at the head of 
this the shortest book of the Bible, is as common 
among the Jews, it is said, as Abdallah among the 
Arabs. Both mean the same thing. Obadiah signi- 
fies "worshipper, or servant of Jehovah." Four of 
the prophets are known to us only by name. Oba- 
diah is one of them; the others are, Habakkuk, 
Haggai and Malachi. Of the first, as indeed of the 
other three, we have the briefest possible accountr 
viz., that his name was Obadiah; there the record 
ends, Abarbanel alleges that he was a converted 
Idumean, and adds, it is an instance of "the hatchet 
returning (according to the Hebrew proverb) into 
the wood of which it was taken;" but this account is 
destitute of foundation. Jerome held with the Jews 
that he was the same person as the Obadiah who 
was governor of Ahab's house, and who hid and fed 
one hundred prophets whom Jezebel sought to slay 
with the other servants of God she murdered, I Kings 
xviii. If so, then he is the oldest prophet whose 
writings have come down to us, and must have lived 
some nine centuries before Christ. It is much more 
likely that he prophesied about the time of the cap' 
ture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and that he 
was contemporary with Jeremiah, or immediately 
preceded that prophet. 

It will be observed that there is a striking simi- 


Parity between these two prophets, and that their 
predictions against Edom are closely akin, cf. Jer. 
xlix, 7-22, and Obadiah. Some dispute there is as 
to which copied from the other, or whether both 
copied from an earlier prediction. From internal 
evidence it is now believed by many that Obadiah 
is the original and that of Jeremiah is somewhat 
later; but whether the latter used the former or not 
cannot be determined, for there is difference enough 
to entitle us to the belief that neither saw or used 
the writing of the other. 

Obadiah's design is to predict the overthrow of 
Edom. The Idumeans were the neighbors of the 
Jews, and their kinsmen, being the descendants of 
Esau, the brother of Jacob. But as they did not 
show any concern for the misfortunes of Israel, as 
they rather rejoiced thereat, the cordiality which 
might have been expected to exist between them 
gave place to intense and bitter hatred. The Edom- 
ites, according to Obadiah, are types of those who 
ought to be friends and are not, who ought to be 
helpers in the day of calamity, but who are found on 
the other side. The prophet touches on their pride 
and self-confidence, vs. 3; then denounces their vio- 
lence against their brother Jacob in the day of his 
trouble, vss. 10-14. In the remainder of the verses 
he utters the most terrific predictions as to the final 
and complete destruction of Edom. The certainty 
of the future triumphs of Zion and the enlargement 
of Israel's borders is announced. Obadiah sees the 
house of Jacob and the house of Joseph, probably 
denoting all Israel, dispossessing Edom and occupy- 
ing their land. Partially and typically the prophecy 
has been fulfilled, but no doubt it awaits a more 


complete accomplishment, when God will set His 
hand to recover His people, and make good to them 
the promises to the fathers. 

The book of Obadiah is a favorite study of modern 
Jews. In it they read the future of their own people 
and of Christendom; for they hold that by Edom- 
ites are meant Christians who have treated them 
much as old Edom did their ancestors, and by Edom 
is specially meant Rome. Kimchi says, " All that 
the prophets have said about Edom and its destruc- 
tion in the last times has reference to Rome." 

The fifteenth verse of Obadiah is significant: " For 
the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen; as 
thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy re- 
ward shall return upon thine own head." It is lex 
talionis, the law of retaliation. Back on those who 
do evil against their fellows rebounds the like injury. 
A notable instance of it is seen in Judges viii, 18, 19, 
and i, 5, where we read of the cruelty of Adoni- 
bezek which returned on himself "as I have done, 
so God hath requited me. " Iniquity always recoils. 
Into the pit, the wicked dig for others, sooner or 
later they fall. The reprisals of sin are frightful. 


The book of Jonah is unlike any other of the 
minor prophets or any other of the Bible. In its 
style and contents it is strictly a historical narrative. 
It is not so much an oracle or prediction as a type. 
The interest centers not so much in the message of 
the prophet as in the prophet himself. More than 
any other book of the Bible it has been assailed, 
ridiculed, tortured and wrested from its simple, 
straightforward record of facts, and pronounced a fic- 
tion, an allegory, a parable, or a vision. It needs 
scarcely to be said that the testimony of our Lord 
Jesus Christ forever settles the question of its authen- 
ticity and genuineness for every Christian. 

I. Jonah was a native of Gath-hepher, a town of 
Lower Galilee, 2 Kings xiv, 25. He was of the tribe 
of Zebulon, and a subject of the Northern King- 
dom. From the passage of 2 Kings xiv, 23-25, 
we learn that Jonah lived and testified during 
some portion of the reign of Jeroboam II., which, 
according to Neteler, extended from 789 to 749 
B. C. But according to Home, Angus, Usher, 
and others, his reign antedates this by some fifty 
years. Somewhere between B. C. 850-750 Jonah 
flourished, probably nearer the former than the 
latter date. More than eight centuries before the 
advent of the Savior he lived and prophesied and 
passed through his marvelous experience. He was a 



child when Homer, old and blind, was singing his 
rhapsodies on the shores of the Aegean sea; a con- 
temporary with Lycurgus the Spartan legislator; a 
hundred years older than Romulus, and four hun- 
dred years older than Herodotus the historian. 
Nothing of his early life, parentage (save that he 
was the son of Amittai) or personal history, except 
what is found in his book, is given us. Like Elijah 
the Tishbite, Amos of Tekoa, John the Baptist, he 
is abruptly introduced into the pages of revelation. 
God gathers out of the lives of His servants that 
which suits His purposes, and is precious in His 
sight, and records it in His book; over all the rest 
He draws His pen. 

2. The book contains two well defined parts, viz 
I. The historical narrative. II. The typical teaching 
ef the narrative. Let us note some of the features 
of the history, (i) Jonah's mission. It was to de- 
nounce the wrath of God against the wicked city of 
Nineveh, i, i, 2; iii, 1-3. The call of God took him 
out of his own land and beyond the sphere of the 
prophetic testimony as generally rendered. To the 
capital of Assyria he was sent. The reason for such 
an extraordinary mission of a Jew was, that the place 
was given over to sin, that its wickedness proceeded 
largely from ignorance, and that there was a multi- 
tude of persons, particularly children, who were not 
responsible for the state of the city, iv, n, cf. i, 2. 
That Nineveh was as large and as densely populated 
as the book indicates is attested by trustworthy wit- 
nesses. Diodorus Siculus says it was sixty miles in 
circuit; Herodotus somewhat less. This would cor- 
respond to the statement that it was " three days' 
journey " in extent. Perhaps the view entertained 

JONAH. 325 

by many is well grounded, viz., that Nineveh con- 
sisted of a group or aggregation of cities, separated 
from one another by parks, gardens, walls and forti- 
fications. If we take the parallelogram in Central 
Assyria covered with remains of buildings we shall 
have an extent equal to all that is affirmed as to its 
magnitude. Koyunjik is about eighteen miles from 
Nimroud; Khorsabad about the same from Karam- 
less; Khorsabad about fourteen from Koyunjik; and 
Karamless about the same from Nimroud; so that 
the entire circuit would be about sixty miles. Jonah 
(iv, 1 1) mentions the children who were unable to 
discern between their right and left hands as 120,000, 
which would give the whole population as some- 
where between 700,000 and 1,000,000. To this city, 
with its teeming population, its imposing temples 
and stupendous palaces, its idolatry and wickedness, 
Jonah was sent. (2) His flight, i, 15. The mission 
was very distasteful to the prophet; so much so that 
he determined not to obey the divine command; and 
he " rose up to flee to Tarshish, from the presence 
of the Lord." Of course it is not to be imagined 
that Jonah was ignorant of the divine omnipresence, 
for David had already set forth this truth in sublime 
language in Ps. cxxxix, 7-9. He fled that he might 
get away from his duty as Jehovah's prophet, cf. Ex. 
iii, iv. 

No doubt a variety of motives combined to 
prompt a course at once wicked and foolish. Fear 
for his personal safety may have had something to 
do with his flight. The Assyrians were already 
recognized as the enemies of Israel and were feared 
as the most dangerous of their foes. How could 
Jonah go to that hostile race and preach to them? 


The chief motive is given us by the prophet himself, 
chap, iv, 2: "I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my 
saying when I was yet in my country? Therefore I 
fled unto Tarshish; for I knew that thou art a gra- 
cious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great 
kindness, and repentest thee of the evil." Jonah 
thus seems to prefer judgment to mercy, fire to con- 
sume the Ninevites, rather than grace to lead them 
to repentance and forgiveness. Perhaps, likewise, 
he thought of the dishonor that might come to the 
Lord if He appeared to be changeful and inconsis- 
tent; perhaps, too, of the charge that might be laid 
against himself as a false prophet, who predicted an 
overthrow which never took place. Poor man! Yet 
not unlike the majority of God's servants in every 
age. How weak, pusillanimous, peevish and cow- 
ardly the most of them are. His flight was to 
Tarshish, either Tarassus in Spain or the Tarshish 
near Cilicia, a seaport of considerable commercial 
importance. Providence seemed actually to favor his 
disobedience; but facilities for doing wrong are not 
to be construed as indications of divine permission. 
If we flee from duty and go to the west when we are 
bidden go to the east, it will be found at length that 
the very easiness of the road only leads into more 
mischief and the terrors of death. " Jonah took his 
measures, but God took His also. He let the willful 
man have his way to a certain point, till quite com- 
mitted to his folly; then He began to work and to 
restore His servant by terrible things in righteous- 
ness." A storm suddenly arose, and the ship was in 
great peril. The seamen threw the cargo overboard 
to lighten the laboring vessel. They rowed hard to 
bring her to the land. But all in vain. The angry 

JONAH. 327 

sea grew more furious, and the helpless prophet, 
well knowing the cause of all suggested the only ex- 
pedient to secure the safety of the ship. The hand? 
of the sailors cast him forth. Jonah went down out 
of sight into the abyss, and the sea 7 was calm. 

(2) Jonah's miraculous preservation, i, 17; ii, i-io. 
It is a marvelous account, but in no degree absurd 
or incredible. It is quite fashionable to sneer at it, 
and treat it as a fable, a myth, too gross and mon- 
strous to be for a moment believed. Even some 
professing Christians smile incredulously when 
"Jonah and the whale " are mentioned: they cannot 
well conceal their contempt for the story. The early 
Christians believed it, for they painted the prophet 
and the fish in the rough frescoes they made in the 
catacombs at Rome. Our Lord Jesus Christ believed 
it, and has set the seal of His almighty approbation 
and confirmation on it once and again, Matt, xii, 39- 
41; xvi, 4; Luke xi, 29, 30, 32. Christ declares that 
Jonah was a type of His own death and resurrection, 
that as the prophet was a " sign " to Nineveh, so was 
He a " sign " to the people of Israel. The Lord pre- 
pared, or appointed (Ixx), a fish which swallowed 
down the recreant prophet. It is not said He cre- 
ated it at the moment; He ordained that it should be 
in readiness to receive Jonah into its capacious maw. 
In Matthew the word is translated " whale;" but 
more properly, it was a sea-monster, as the revision 
has it in the margin, that is meant. In all likeli- 
hood, it was a species of shark (pesce-cane, the dog 
fish, Italian sailors call it), which is common in the 
Mediterranean, which has an enormous throat, and 
which sometimes attains a length of twenty-five feet 
or more, with space in its bulk ample enough to con- 


tain the prophet's body. The miraculous element 
lies, not in his being swallowed alive, but in his being 
kept alive in his moving grave for three days. Great, 
indeed, too great for mere nature, but not too great 
for Him who is above nature, the Almighty. 

(3) His preaching and its results, chap. iii. Jonah's 
message was appalling; his one piercing cry from 
street to street was, " Yet forty days, and Nineveh 
shall be overthrown." The probation was short, 
narrowed into one month and ten days. God 
sometimes speaks to a nation orto an individual but 
once. If His voice is not then heard, it is heard no 
more except in the thundertones of judgment. The 
results were wonderful. Nineveh heard and re- 
pented. One sermon did the work; one trumpet 
blast shook the city out of its sin and carnal secu- 
rity. The repentance was immediate, profound, uni- 
versal and acceptable. Noah preached one hundred 
and twenty years in vain; two angels visited Sodom 
and announced its doom, in vain; three years Jesus 
with solemn voice cried to Israel, " Repent," but few 
heeded the call. Under one sermon by one prophet 
a vast heathen city repented in ashes and sackcloth. 
King and noble, with diadem and spangle laid by, 
down in the dust with the meanest subject and slave, 
the dumb brutes sharing the universal humiliation. 
It was a world spectacle worth seeing. 

(4) What explanation are we to give as regards 
the remarkable success of Jonah's mission? It cer- 
tainly seems strange and unusual that such an effect 
should follow the preaching of a solitary and un- 
known man. What credentials had he to show? 
What proofs that his message was from God? He 
wrought no miracle to attest his authority or the 

JONAH. 329 

truthfulness of his message. His own bare word as 
against the voice of a million was all he had. Yes, 
he had more. Though he wrought no miracle him- 
self, a stupendous sign had been wrought in his own 
person. He was like a dead and risen man, and he 
came to the Ninevites as a messenger from the un- 
seen world. The sailors had doubtless spread abroad 
the report of the storm, and how the sea had become 
calm. The people of Nineveh heard and believed 
the report; and when Jonah appeared in their streets, 
they virtually said: " Behold, here is the man who 
was entombed in the sea monster for three days and 
nights. He has been in the very region of death and 
of Hades; behold him. And he has returned to earth 
and to us with this frightful message." Hence their 

3. Turn we now to the prophetic or typical feat- 
ures of the book. It is here that Jonah differs wide- 
ly from all the other prophetical books of Scripture, 
viz., not the prophecy, but the prophet, is the main 
subject. There is nothing in the book that speaks 
of the future. The testimony Jonah rendered Nine- 
veh was a present testimony, designed for the gen- 
eration that then lived. Manifestly, the great aim 
of it is to present the prophet himself as a predic- 
tion or type of Christ. It is to this feature our Lord 
refers in the passages above cited; this it is which 
gives the book its supreme value, and makes it the 
book for all time. Some of the features of his typi- 
cal character may be pointed out: 

( i) Jonah in the body of the great fish was a type 
of Christ under the power of death. The prophet 
while in his strange sepulchre made use of certain 
Psalms with which no doubt he was familiar, and 


which expressed exactly his experience and dark 
forebodings. He quotes more or less literally Ps. 
xviii, 4-6 (cf. ii, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7); Ps. xxxi, 6, 7, 22 (cf. ii, 
4,8); Ps. xlii, 7 (cf. ii, 3); etc. But there are allu- 
sions in the prayer of Jonah to the great Messianic 
Psalms, Ps. xxii; Ixix; xvi. Some of the words our 
Lord employed to express His feelings when death 
was fast closing in upon Him were used also by 
Jonah, for he, too, seemed to be sinking into the 
depths of sheol and passing into the realm of the 
unseen world; the rivers of the ocean whirled him 
round in their vast eddies; the rocky roots of the 
mountains seemed closing in the gates of the world 
against his return; "the billows and waves " of God 
passed over him. A striking picture of what Jesus 
endured, Ps. Ixix, I, 2. Jonah calls the belly of the 
fish " the belly of hell," or sheol. To this entomb- 
ment Jesus refers in Matt, xii, 39, 40; and He trans- 
lates it, " the heart of the earth." Herein is Jonah a 
sign; as he was three days and nights in the fish, so 
Jesus was to be three days and nights in the heart of 
the earth under the power of death. The sign had 
its fulfillment in those awful days when the body of 
the Son of God lay in Joseph's tomb, and His human 
soul entered the world of disembodied spirits. 

(2) He is a type of Christ's resurrection. At the 
bidding of the Lord, the fish vomited out upon dry 
land the prophet alive. Jonah spake to the Lord; 
the Lord spake to the obedient fish. After God had 
spoken it was impossible he should longer be held 
in his prison. In ii, 6, Jonah says, " The earth with 
her bars was about me forever: yet hast thou brought 
up my life from corruption (or the pit), O Lord my 
God." It is almost the identical language of Ps. 

JONAH. 331 

xvi, 10; " For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell 
(sheol); neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see 
corruption." Peter quotes the words, applying them 
to the resurrection of Christ, saying, " Whom God 
raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because 
it was impossible that he should be holden of it," 
Acts ii, 22-27. Matchless " sign," indeed, was this 
of the prophet Jonah. On the horizon of the Old 
Testament there always blazed this sign of the death 
and resurrection of the Lord Jesus the sign of the 
prophet Jonah. 

(3) The prophet was also a type after his recov- 
ery from the sea. It was after his figurative death 
and resurrection that Jonah was sent to the Gentiles. 
It is evident from 2 Kings xiv, 25 that Jonah proph- 
esied in Israel and to Israel. But he is sent away 
from the chosen people to proclaim the word of the 
Lord to a great heathen city. God turned away 
from Israel to show mercy to the Gentiles. Now 
this was the sign which the Lord Jesus put before 
the Pharisees. Such was the moral state of the peo- 
ple that He would be rejected by them and be put 
to death. But raised from the dead, He would go 
forth in the power of resurrection life to proclaim 
salvation to the Gentiles. In obedience to His com- 
mand the disciples went everywhere preaching re- 
pentance and remission of sins in His name. Thus, 
the Greater than Jonah was a sign to the Jews of 
His day, a Savior to every one who believes. 


Micah was a native of Moresheth-gath, i, 14, hence 
he is called the Morasthite, i, I. His name signifies 
11 who is like Jehovah." Of course he is not to be 
confounded with Micaiah the son of Imlah who 
prophesied in the reign of Ahab (i Kings xxii), for 
he was subsequent to him by more than a hundred 

The time of his prophecy is stated in the first 
verse to be " in the days of Jotham, Ahaz,and Heze- 
kiah, kings of Judah." The period of time during 
which these kings reigned was about sixty years. It 
is computed that Jotham reigned B. C. 758-742; 
Ahaz, B. C. 742-727; Hezekiah, B. C. 727-698. 
Micah's official service may have embraced fifty 
years, which is certainly not an extravagant esti- 

The design of the prophecy is stated in i, i. " The 
word of the Lord which came to Micah .... con- 
cerning Samaria and Jerusalem." The sin and 
shame of both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms 
are exposed by the prophet, but the burden of his 
message is intended for Judah. The prophecy, 
however, is not confined to Israel. All nations are 
addressed likewise; the earth and its inhabitants. 
Like Hosea, like Amos, Micah enters into the moral 
condition of the people and connects their afflictions 

MICAH. 333 

wfth thefr unfaithfulness. Judgment, the theme oi 
so many prophets, is prominent in Micah, sin pre- 
vailing and inveterate, makes it a necessity. But 
grace also flows. The advent of the Messiah and 
the blessing of the people under His peaceful reign 
the prophet announces in glowing terms. 

The book consists of seven chapters. But after 
the first verse which is the title and preface, it falls 
into three parts, each of which is introduced by the 
almost military challenge, or legal summons: " Hear 
ye." These three parts are the following: 1. Chaps 
i, ii. II. Chaps, iii-v. III. Chaps, vi, vii. 

I. The first division (i, ii) begins with a summons 
to all nations to hear God's testimony. The Ak 
mighty is coming forth out of His place on high to 
take His stand on the high places of the earth to wit- 
ness against Samaria and to declare its doom. Nor 
shall Judah escape. The evil which shall overwhelm 
Samaria shall reach the gate of Jerusalem, for the 
sin of the former has come to Zion by way of 
Lachish, the near medium of the guilty communi- 
cation. The prophet wails over the kingdoms as if 
the threatenings were already accomplished. He 
will strip himself and go naked, will roll himself in 
the dust, will utter shrieks and lamentations " like 
the long piteous cry of the jackal, like the fearful 
screech of the ostrich." His own immediate neigh- 
borhood in the maritime plains of Judah shall not 
escape; village after village shall be given to de- 
struction. The moral evils that defiled the land 
and invoked the calamities are most graphically de- 
scribed. Idolatry, oppression of the weak by the 
strong, covetousness, and drunkenness are some of 
the sins for which the people are arraigned before the 


great Judge. It was a time of weak government, 
and so of misrule and oppression. Through the reign 
of the wicked Ahaz, Micah lived, and we may well 
believe from what is told us of that apostate prince, 
that every species of vice flourished with rank ex- 
uberance. In the prophet's own striking imagery, it 
was a time when men did " evil with both hands ear- 
nestly," (vii, 3.) But like so many other prophets 
before and after him, Micah became the champion 
of the oppressed and the weak, and their stern and 
unfaltering advocate in the presence of an insolent 
and powerful oppressor. 

2. The second division (iii-v) opens with a fierce 
denunciation of the nobles for the crimes of which 
they were guilty, iii, 1-4. With bitter satire the 
prophet describes the princes eating the poor and 
stripping the flesh from their bones as if in a canni- 
bal feast; and foretells the cry of anguish with which 
they shall appeal to God in the day of their sore 
trouble, but He will not hear them. Next, he de- 
nounces the unholy alliance between the traitor 
prophets and mercenary priests and corrupt judges 
of Israel who prophesy for gain, and administer jus- 
tice for reward, and teach for hire. By these com- 
bined parties Zion is built up with blood, and Jerusa- 
lem with iniquity, and Micah, filled with power by 
the Spirit of the Lord declares unto Jacob his trans- 
gression, and to Israel his sin. In iii, 12, he foretells 
the ruin of Jerusalem and the desolation of Zion. 
This prediction saved the life of Jeremiah, who 
would have been put to death for foretelling the de- 
struction of the temple had it not appeared that 
Micah had foretold the same thing above a hundred 
years before, (Jer. xxvi, 18, 19). 

MICAH. 336 

With chap, iv, a notable change occurs in the cur- 
rent of the prophecy. The iniquities of the people 
and the punishment which these provoke give place 
to a magnificent vision of the establishment of 
Messiah's kingdom and the blessedness and glory 
that shall be connected with it. Verses 1-3 are with 
slight variation the same as Isa. ii, 2-4. In the judg- 
ment of many able and trustworthy interpreters the 
priority belongs to Micah; he is the original, and 
Isaiah probably copied from him. God's kingdom 
is to be exalted into an eminence in the world where 
it will have neither a rival nor a peer. Its sway shall 
be universal; its duration unending, its rule benig- 
nant and peaceful. War shall cease forever, wasting 
and desolation be known no more. 

Chapter v contains a deeply interesting prediction 
of Messiah's birth (vs. 2). It was on this verse the 
scribes and priests laid their hands when Herod 
submitted to them the question as to Messiah's birth 
place. We learn from the whole passage that He is 
eternal (vs. 2). His appearing at Bethlehem was 
not His first; it was only one of many " goings 
forth." He will gather Israel at length into perma- 
nent occupancy of the land, and introduce them into 
new life and fellowship (vs. 3). His rule shall be 
over the whole world (vs. 4). He shall defend and 
deliver the people and exalt them over their adver- 
saries (vss. 5-9). And He shall destroy all instru- 
ments of war, and remove every vestige of idolatry 
from the land, and punish the heathen for their sin 
(vss. 10-15). 

3. The third division (vi, vii) exhibits the reason- 
ableness, justice and purity of the divine require- 
ments in contrast with the ingratitude, injustice and 


superstition of the people, which caused their ruin. 
Chapter vi begins with a most impressive scene, 
viz., the " controversy " which God had with the 
people. The mountains and hills are cited to hear 
the charges of the parties to the controversy God 
and Israel. And in the presence of these stately, silent 
witnesses the people are asked to testify against 
their Deliverer and Creator, to show wherein He 
hath done them wrong or wearied them. At the 
same time He reminds them of the mercy and the 
goodness He hath showed them (vi, 1-5). What a 
revelation is this of the divine love and patience and 
also of the obduracy and ingratitude of the human 
heart. Then the prophet puts into the mouth of an 
inquirer the questions asked in vss. 6, 7. These are 
not to be taken as the words of Balaam, but of one 
who is anxious about his state before God, but unin- 
structed in the way of righteousness. Human sacri- 
fice is certainly meant in the phrase " firstborn," 
"fruit of my body." The horrible rite was practised 
to some extent in the reign of Ahaz, 2 Kings xvi, 3; 
xvii, 17. No doubt the allusion is to the sacrifice of 
children to the brutal Moloch, the fire-god of the 
Ammonites. How much a man will do and suffer if 
thereby he can feel he has satisfied God as touching 
himself. Contrast with this costly outlay, the su- 
preme devotion even to the slaughter of one's own 
child to obtain salvation, with the simplicity and 
freeness of the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. 
Why will men attempt the impossible, and refuse 
the gift? Theanswer to the inquiries is in vs. 8; and 
the assurance that the wise man will learn the way 
in vs. 9. In vss. 10-16 the prophet lays before them t 
in detail, the universal wickedness that reigned 

MICAH. 337 

among them, and declares that judgment must 
surely come upon them. 

In chapter vii, the prophet laments over the 
moral condition of his people (vss. 1-6), then inter- 
cedes in their behalf with God speaking in their 
name, and identifying Himself with them (vss. 7-10). 

The prophecy closes with the assurance that God 
will make good to His people every promise and 
prediction, that He will pardon their iniquities and 
bury their sins in the depths of the sea. In spite of 
their rebellion He will never forget them in His 
matchless love, and in His faithfulness He will not 
forsake them forever. 

We may summarize the predictions of Micah thus: 
(i) The fall of Samaria and the dispersion of Israel, 
i, 6-8, 9-16; v, 7, 8. (2) The cessation of prophecy, 
iii, 6,7. (3) Destruction of Jerusalem, iii, 12. (4) 
Deliverance of Israel, iv, 10; v, 8. (5) Messiah's 
birth place, v, 2. (6) God's kingdom established 
over the whole world, iv, 1-7. 


Of the author o! this prophecy we have no more 
knowledge than is afforded us by the scanty title, 
which leaves both his nativity and his age uncertain. 
He is called the Elkoshite, i, I. But where Elkosh 
was situated is a disputed point. Jerome records 
that it was a village in Galilee, and says that its 
ruins were shown him as he traveled through that 
country. But Jerome lived nearly one thousand 
years after Nahum. Others locate it in Assyria 
where his tomb was declared to be. The internal 
evidences favor Palestine rather than Assyria as the 
scene of the prophet's ministry (i, 4, 5). Henderson 
is of opinion that Capernaum, which he translates 
41 the village of Nahum," may have been the home 
of the prophet. But no certainty as to his birth 
place can be had. The date of the book can be de- 
termined with as little precision. Some think he 
was contemporary with Habakkuk, others with 
Manasseh, but the majority that he prophesied dur- 
ing the reign of Hezekiah. Home assigns it to 720 
698-6. C; Knoble 713-711 B.C. Others bring it 
down to a later time, B. C. 700-636. But in all cases 
the book is placed at a time prior to the fulfillment 
of the event it predicts. Nineveh was destroyed 
B. C. 606 or 6 1 2. The probability is that the 
" vision " was seen by Nahum one hundred years 
before the event took place. 

The subject of the prophecy is announced in the 
superscription, i, i: "The burden of Nineveh." Or- 

NAHUM. 339 

ganic unity is maintained throughout, the three 
chapters into which the book is divided form a con- 
secutive whole. The style is elevated and graphic, 
its imagery majestic and bold, and its tone solemn 
and terrible in the highest degree. The entire 
prophecy is aimed against Nineveh, the metropolis 
of Assyria. It sounds the death-knell of the proud, 
luxurious and wealthy city. It denounces God's 
heaviest judgments against the guilty place and pre- 
dicts its final and complete overthrow and extinc- 
tion. We note some of the causes that provoked 
the divine wrath against it. 

1. Impenitence of the people. More than a hun- 
dred years before Nahum, Jonah preached to Nine- 
veh, and the whole city gave itself up to repentance. 
From the sovereign on the throne to the humblest 
subject, all united in confession, humiliation, and 
earnest appeal to God for mercy. But great as was 
the result of Jonah's preaching at the time, it was 
not permanent. A brief period served to blot out 
the memory of the doom which that prophet an- 
nounced, and which was averted by their contrition 
and humiliation. They turned again with redoubled 
zest to their old brutal customs. The repentance 
was not followed by any lasting amendment of life. 
Hence, as always happens in the like cases, their 
last end was worse than the first. 

2. Assyrian pride. It was proverbial. The inso- 
lent message of Sennacherib to Hezekiah (2 Kings 
xviii, 13) was but a specimen of it. Nahum lived and 
prophesied, probably, at the time when the arro- 
gance of Assyria reached its climax. God and His 
laws were despised, and the rights of men and na- 
tions trampled on by the haughty power. 


3. Assyrian cruelty was also proverbial, iii, 1-3. 
Nineveh is called " the bloody city." In it the hiss 
of the whip and heavy sound of the scourge were 
constantly heard. Rarely did the Assyrians show 
mercy to the conquered and the captive. It was 
their custom to stamp out their foes, leaving no 
vestige of city or hamlet behind. In the excava- 
tions made at Nineveh the evidences of cruelty are 
abundant, cruelty of the most barbarous sort. A 
common method of torture was to flay their victims 
alive. Nahum represents their ferocity as that of 
the lion, ii, n, 12. 

4. Idolatry. It was of the most degrading kind, 
and as is always the case, witchcraft, sorcery, nec- 
romancy and demon worship were associated with 
it. There were found those strange, hideous com- 
posite figures which were the principal idols of 
Assyria, viz., the huge winged monsters which the 
antiquarians have exhumed and exhibited to the 
civilized world. The body of the idol is that of a 
bull or a lion, generally the former; the head and 
face are human; two immense wings are attached to 
the shoulders. They seem to have been designed 
to represent the divine principle by the various 
forms of animal life, beast, bird and man. 

5. Oppression of God's people, Israel. While God 
used Assyria as His rod to punish the stubborn and 
rebellious ten tribes, He nevertheless held that 
power responsible for all its abuse of the ascendency 
He had permitted it to gain over His people. And 
Assyria, like Babylon and Persia in aftertimes, did 
exceed all just bounds in its dealings with its cap- 
tives; therefore, judgment visited it in turn. 

The destruction and utter desolation of Nineveh 

NAHUM. 341 

is described by Nahum with magnificent eloquence, 
and with marvelous detail. 

1. It was predicted that " with an overrunning 
flood he will make an utter end of the place," i, 8. 
The allusion is to an invading army, no doubt that 
of the Medes and Babylonians who attacked Nine- 
veh and completely demolished it. 

2. The Tigris was to assist in its overthrow, ii, 6. 
This was fulfilled. The ancient historian, Diodorus 
Siculus, mentions an old prophecy that Nineveh 
should not be taken until the river (Tigris) should 
become its enemy. He adds that when the assail- 
ants attacked it the river burst its banks and washed 
away the wall for twenty stadia. 

3. It was to be destroyed partly by fire, iii, 13, 15. 
This, too, was literally fulfilled. In the excavations 
which have been made on the site it is discovered 
that one of the gates, and most of the buildings had 
been burnt. 

4. The population was to be surprised when un- 
prepared, " while they are drunk as drunkards they 
shall be devoured as stubble fully dry," i, 10. Dio- 
dorus states that the last and fatal assault was made 
when they were overcome with wine. In the re- 
mains that have been exhumed carousing scenes are 
represented, in which the king, his courtiers, and 
even the queen, reclining on couches or seated on 
thrones, and attended by musicians, appear to be 
pledging each other in bowls of wine. 

5. It was to be despoiled of its idols, i, 14; and of 
its silver and gold, ii, 9. This prediction likewise 
was amply fulfilled. The images of Nineveh were 
swept away, either destroyed or carried off by the 
conquerors. Enormous amounts of gold and silver 


were conveyed to Ecbatana by the victorious Medes. 
Very little of the precious metals have been found 
in the excavations of recent times. The city was 
spoiled of all its treasures. 

6. The captivity of the inhabitants and their re- 
moval to distant provinces were announced, ii, 7; 
iii, 18. The place was depopulated and the proud 
city sank into a mass of ruins and rubbish. 

7. It was to disappear and become a perpetual 
desolation, i, 14; iii, 19. For centuries its site has 
been an arid waste of yellow sand. Every trace of 
its existence disappeared for ages. Two hundred 
years after its capture Xenophon, in the retreat of 
the ten thousand, passed near it, saw the ruins, but 
knew not what they were, and did not so much as 
learn the name of Nineveh. Even " garrulous Hero- 
dotus," who visited the spot, had no more to say of 
it than this: " The Tigris was the river upon which 
Nineveh formerly stood." For centuries the only 
sound heard in its vicinity was the lonely cry of the 
jackal, and hoarse growl of the hyena. God had 
said by the mouth of His servant the prophet, " I 
will make thy grave." He did. Wide and deep He 
did dig it; low and deep He buried Nineveh, never 
more to rise again, save to be gazed at with curious 
eyes amid dim torchlight by the archaeologist, whose 
pick and spade have confirmed the Lord's predic- 


Habakkuk is one of the four prophets who are 
known to us only by name. Of his parentage or his 
nativity nothing whatever is told us. There are tra- 
ditions concerning him but they are entitled to little 
or no credit. One is found in the apocryphal story 
of Bel and the Dragon, and is to the effect that an 
angel caught up Habakkuk by the hair of his head 
and carried him to Daniel while in the lion's den, 
whom he fed with the food he was conveying to his 
laborers in the field. It has been inferred from the 
inscription in iii, 19, that he was a Levite, but this 
also is very problematical. 

As to the date of the book the authorities vary, as 
usual. But the discrepancy is not very great in this 
instance. Some place it in the reign of Josiah, B.C. 
630; others in that of Jehoiakim, or the latter part 
of Josiah's rule, B. C. 612-598. 

1. The subject of the prophecy is two-fold: First, 
the overthrow of Judah by the Chaldeans. Second, 
the overthrow, in turn, of the Chaldean monarchy 
each power for its sins. 

2. Characteristics of the book. It is distinguished 
for its magnificent poetry. Habakkuk is unsur- 
passed for the splendors of his style. Bold as Isaiah, 
he is his equal in sublimity; for pathos he is even 
more remarkable than Jeremiah; for loyalty he 
resembles David; and for confidence in God, 
Paul. The grandeur of his description of Almighty 
God in chapter three is unparalleled even in the 


Bible itself. Nothing is more majestic, nothing 
more sublime and awful. 

3. The contents may be divided into two parts: I. 
A dialogue concerning judgment for iniquity. This 
is the " burden." (i) The prophet's complaint, i, 2- 
4. (2) The Lord's reply, i, 5-11. (3) The prophet's 
appeal that the Holy One should not suffer His 
people to perish, i, 12; ii, I. (4) The Lord's answer, 
with direction that it should be plainly written down 
for the guidance and consolation of the godly, 
ii, 2-20. 

The Chaldeans are denounced (i) for rapacity, ii, 
6-8; (2) for trust in unhallowed gain, ii, 9-11; (3) 
building cities and towns with the blood and treas- 
ure of strangers, ii, 12-14; (4) degrading and out- 
raging the peoples whom they subdued, ii, 15-17; 
(5) confidence in idols, ii, 18-20. 

II. The prayer-song of Habakkuk, chap. ii. It is 
called a prayer, like Ps. Ixxxix, xc. etc., not merely 
because it begins with prayer, but because the whole 
ode is an expansion of the opening petition. It is 
likewise a song. If the word selah, which occur* in 
it three times, is to be understood as a musical term, 
then it follows that it was intended to be rendered 
musically on some occasion or in some place of 
which we have no information. The inscription at 
the close, " To the chief singer on my stringed in- 
struments," appears to furnish some evidence in the 
same direction, (comp. Ps. iv, title). 

The great sentence of the prophet, " But the just 
shall live by his faith," ii, 4, is quoted three times in 
the New Testament, Rom. i, 17; Gal. iii, n; Heb. x, 
38. Chap, ii, 3, seems to be referred to in Heb. 

x, 37- 


This prophet is remarkable for giving us his gen- 
ealogy to the fourth generation a rare occurrence 
with the prophets. In no other case does the record 
of lineage extend beyond the grandfather of the 
prophet, Zech. i, I. Zephaniah wished to distinguish 
himself from others of the same name, but mainly 
to point out his relationship to the great monarch 
Hezekiah, for the Hizkiah of i, I, the fourth in the 
prophet's line, is identical with that king. He was, 
therefore, of royal descent. 

He prophesied during the reign of Josiah, i, I. 
Tregelles dates B. C. 625-610; Angus somewhat ear- 
lier. The internal evidence evinces the fact that 
Nineveh was in a state of peace and prosperity, 
while the notices of Jerusalem touch upon the same 
tendencies to idolatry and crime which are con- 
demned by Jeremiah. 

I. The design of Zephaniah is two-fold: First, to 
announce God's judgment; second, to disclose the 
moral condition which necessitated it. As to the 
first, it is to be remarked that the revelation of judg- 
ment is very full and explicit. The prophet's name 
seems to indicate the character of his mission " the 
watchman of Jehovah." He is on the outlook for 
wrath and indignation to be poured out on the guilty 
and impenitent. This appears in the description of 
the great and terrible day of the Lord, i. This is 


the prediction which formed the basis of the Latin 
hymn of the Middle Ages, the Dies Irae. The deso- 
lation of Israel is made the image of a far wider 
judgment still to come, viz., the judgment of the 
whole earth. The sins that provoke the judgment 
are idolatry, i, 4-6; oppression, rapacity, cruelty and 
treachery, iii, 1-5. 

2. Contents, (i) Denunciation of judgment, i. 
(2) The nations that are its objects, Judah, Philis- 
tines, Moabites, Ammonites, Ethiopians and Assy- 
rians, ii-iii, 1-6. (3) Prediction of future restoration 
and blessing for Israel, iii, 7-20. 

3. The future according to Zephaniah. This brief 
prophecy is full of it, as are all the other prophets. 
After the frightful picture of wrath which he so 
vividly draws, he changes to a sweet and triumphant 
theme, a song of gladness and of victory in which 
the glory of Zion, favor to the Lord's people, God's 
delight in His redeemed, the holiness and devoted- 
ness of the restored Israel are set forth in rapturous 
strains. He closes with a vision of hope and joy 
and peace. And so Zephaniah is apocalyptic and 

"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is 
mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with 
joy; He will rest in His love; He will joy over thee 
with singing," iii, 17. 

Redeemer and Redeemed. 

I. The Redeemer. 

1. He is mighty to save. 

2. He exults over His redeemed. 

3. He is silent in His love finds no fault with 

II. The Redeemed. 


1. They are finally and forever delivered. 

2. They are exalted. 

3. They are forgiven. 

4. They are made perfect. 

5. They are happy for ever. 



Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi are the posV cap- 
tivity prophets. They exercised their office after 
the return from the exile at Babylon. The great 
majority of the Old Testament prophets bore their 
testimony prior to that epoch-making event. Jere- 
miah's ministry extended into the period, but he 
was not an exile. Only two, Ezekiel and Daniel, 
prophesied during the captivity. 

1. The three ministered to the restored remnant. 
The circumstances of the returned Jews made it 
needful for such beneficent work as these prophets 
could render. We learn from the books of Ezra and 
Nehemiah under what difficulties and obstructions 
the Jews labored in rebuilding the temple, and re- 
organizing the commonwealth and the services of 
Judaism. Opposition and discouragement beset 
them on every side. To every achievement they 
had to fight their way. They built the house of God 
and the city " in troublous times," in very truth. 
And these prophets, particularly Haggai and Zech- 
ariah were raised up to strengthen the heroic but 
feeble remnant. 

2. The throne of God was not again set up at 
Jerusalem on the restoration of Judah. Power still 
remained with the Gentiles. The first great empire, 
Babylon, upon which God conferred supremacy, had 
proved itself unworthy of the mighty trust imposed 

HAGGAI. 349 

Heta ueen set aside. Another, the Medo- Persian, 
had succeeded, and it was the governing power even 
over the Jews in their own land. They were never 
again independent. And the prophets served to in- 
struct and to comfort them amid the trials incident 
to their subject life. 

3. Their main effort was to maintain fidelity and 
obedience in the new position. As the center of 
faithfulness was the temple and the service con- 
nected with it, these prophets labored to keep the 
people attached to the place and its rites of worship 
and to all therein implied. As failure in the rem- 
nant became apparent the prophets turned away 
from the present and fixed their eyes on the advent 
of the Messiah whom they describe minutely and for 
whom they yearned with an intensity of desire that 
challenges our admiration, in whom they well knew 
.there would be no failure. 

Haggai prophesied in the sixth month of the sec- 
ond year of Darius the king, i, I. It was probably 
Darius Hystaspes. His ministry covered a period 
of about four months, B. C. 520. 

I. The design of his testimony was to encourage 
tfye restored captives in the arduous labors in which 
they were engaged. The decree of Cyrus (Ezra i) 
induced a large number of Jews to set out for the 
Holy Land, some 50,000 in all. But on the death 
of iCyrus the emigration ceased. Under the reign of 
soflfie of his successors, particularly Carnbyses and 
the' Pseudo-Smerdis, the work on the temple and the 
city was suspended, nor was it resumed until the 
second year of Darius, Ezra iv, 24. The arrest of 
the pood work of restoration and rebuilding was ac- 
complished through the determined hostility of the 


adversaries of Judah and Benjamin, Ezra iv, 1-23. It 
was by means of the ministry of Haggai and Zech- 
ariah that it was recommenced, Ezra v. 

II. The contents of Haggai. The prophecy con- 
sists of only two chapters, but it contains four ad- 
dresses, each marked off from the other by clear 
lines of separation. 

(1) The first address, with a notice of its effect, is 
found in chapter one. It was spoken to Zerubbabel 
and to the high priest Joshua. The former was a 
prince of the house of David, and the head of the 
government; the latter was at the head of the priest- 
hood. Its object was to rouse these leaders and the 
people under them from the apathy into which they 
had sunk. Haggai sharply reproves them in that, 
while they lived in ceiled (paneled) houses, the 
house of the Lord was neglected. Their own were 
comfortable and well furnished, whilst the tempk 
had only its foundation and bare walls with no pro- 
tecting roof, with no pavement, door, furniture, altar, 
form or beauty. The address achieved its aim, as i, 
12-15, Ezra v, vi, show. 

(2) Chap, ii, 1-9: The design of the second ac.r 
dress is to correct a tendency to discouragement and 
depreciation which had begun to appear. It is to 
the same officers and through them to the people. 
They were peculiarly disposed to discouragement. 
When the foundations were laid old persons who 
had seen the first temple wept at the contrast. Atter 
the first burst of enthusiasm in the work of rebuild- 
ing, there came, as almost always comes in human 
enterprises, the reaction, the time of flagging inter- 
est and waning energy. Haggai set himself to re- 
animate their drooping spirits and rekindle their 

HAGGAI. 351 

fainting ardor. In the latter part of this address, 
vss. 6, 7, the prophet grounds his appeal on the great 
fact that God will ere long shake heaven, earth, sea, 
and all nations a passage quoted in Heb. xii, 26,27; 
and adds," and the desire of all nations shall come," 
or " the things desired of all nations shall come." It 
is a difficult phrase, but in view of what is said of it 
Heb. xii, 25-29, it must in some way be connected 
with the kingdom of God and the Messiah. 

(3) Chap, ii, 1019. Instruction, reproof, appeal 
and promise. 

(4) Chap, ii, 20-23. This last address was deliv- 
ered on the same day as the preceding. It was 
spoken to Zerubbabel alone and was designed to 
stimulate that officer to zealous efforts in the good 
work undertaken. The prophet again refers to the 
supernatural shaking of earth and sky and king- 
doms, but amid it all the prince shall be as a signet, 
firm and immovable, because chosen of the Lord. 
This can be no other than the day of the Lord, the 
day of the Prince Messiah. 


This prophet was the son of Berechiahand grand- 
son of Iddo, i, i. In Ezra v, I, he is called the son 
of Iddo. The word son, like brother, is often used 
in a wide sense, and here no doubt is equivalent to 
grandson. He was a priest as well as prophet. His 
name signifies " whom Jehovah remembers." He 
was contemporary with Haggai, and began his min- 
istry in the second year of Darius Hystaspes, B. C. 
520. How long he continued it is difficult to deter- 
mine; but in the fourth year of Darius, Zechariah 
received a message from the Lord, vii, I. Probably 
for five years he continued to prophesy. 

i. Is this prophet to be identified with Zechariah 
the son of Barachiah mentioned by our Lord in 
Matt, xxiii, 23? The majority of expositors think 
not; but that the reference in Matthew is to th 
priest Zechariah, son of Jehoiada,who was slain at the 
temple, 2 Chron. xxiv, 20-22. There is no record of 
the death of the prophet; yet it should be borne in 
mind that the book of Chronicles does not extend 
to a date so late as his death. The Jewish Targ'im 
states, we are told, that Zechariah, the son of Id'clo, 
prophet and priest, was slain in the sanctuary, Neh. 
xii, 4, identifies Iddo with the priests; Zech. i, I, 
with the prophets. Josephus likewise says that 
Zechariah the son of Baruchus was slain at the tem- 
ple. Baruchus is closely akin to Berechiah. 


2. Is Matt, xxvii, 9, 10, quoted from Zechariah or 
Jeremiah? In the gospel it is ascribed to Jeremiah, 
but is so nearly identical with Zech. xi, 12, 13, that 
it was taken from the latter. Some think Matthew 
quoted from memory and wrote Jeremiah when he 
meant Zechariah by no means a satisfactory ex- 
planation. Others, that the quotation was originally 
made from Zechariah and that Jeremiah's name was 
inserted by the oversight of some copyist. Still 
another explanation is, that Matthew quoted Jere- 
miah xviii, xix, which prophecy lies at the founda- 
tion of Zechariah's. As there is some variation in a 
few of the oldest versions of the New Testament, 
and also in the Greek copies, it is not unlikely that 
an error has crept into the text, e. g., Matthew either 
wrote "prophet," and the name Jeremiah was intro- 
duced into his text, or (if he used an abbreviation) he 
wrote Zriou, which might be easily mistaken for 

3. The book may be divided into two parts: Part 
I. Chaps, i-viii. The contents of this portion of the 
book may be distributed as follows: (i) Introduc- 
c. on, i, 1-6; a warning voice from the past. (2) A 
series of visions, some of which were soon to come 
to pass, while others lose themselves in the distant 
future, i, 7; vi, 8. The visions appear to be intended 
to strengthen the feeble Hebrew colony in Judea. 
Tty: first is that of horses and riders in the valley of 
myrtles, i, 7-17, representing a time of peace, oppor- 
tune for the building of the city and temple. The 
second is, the four horns and four carpenters, or ar- 
tisans, i, 18-21. It symbolizes the comparative 
safety of Israel in the midst of the contending 
world-powers. If the horns are understood as the 


emblem of the kingdoms which overthrew Israel, 
then their demolition by the smiths signifies their 
powerlessness toward the Jews. The third is that 
of the man with a measuring line, ii. The meaning 
seems evidently to be that Jerusalem should have a 
wider extent than ever before; it should be too 
large to be encompassed by walls evidently, still 
future. The fourth relates to Joshua the high 
priest, clad in filthy garments, the angel and the ad- 
versary Satan, iii. Typical of the removal of the 
remnant's guilt and acceptance before God. The 
fifth is, the candlestick and the two olive trees, iv. 
All obstacles should be removed, and the chosen 
people at length shine in God's light, anointed with 
His Spirit. The sixth is the flying roll, v, 1-4. It is 
a solemn warning of the swift curse of God upon 
thieves and perjurers the land should be purified. 
The seventh is the woman and the ephah, v, 5-11. It 
is wickedness personified; it should be caught, shut 
in a cage as a savage beast, and held in by a weight 
as of lead, and transported to the land of Shinar, i. e., 
Babylon. Two interpretations are given of thh 
difficult vision: first, that it means idolatry and thr : c 
the action signifies the removal of the abominable 
practice from Israel and the transfer of it to Baby- 
lon where it belonged. As a matter of history, it is 
well known that idolatry ceased in Israel with the 
return from the exile. Second, that it means he 
unbelieving and impenitent Jews who shall be thrust 
out of the land, and be identified with Babylon 
where they really belong. If the visions pertain to 
the times of Zechariah, then the first is preferable; 
if to the times of Jerusalem's destruction, the^n the 
\atter is its meaning. The eighth vision is, the four 


chariots, vi, 1-8. It seems to refer to the time of 
the end, and is to be interpreted by the four horses 
and their riders of Rev. vi. 

(3) Symbolic act, vi, 9-15. It is the crowning of 
the high priest Joshua. By this act the two great 
offices of priest and king are united in his person, 
type of the person and work of the man whose name 
is the Branch, vs. 12, and who shall sit on His throne 
of glory as a priest. 

(4) Chaps, vii, viii, contain prophecies of later 
date than the preceding (vii, i). They are partly 
didactic obedience to God's word, justice, mercy, 
truth, a tender heart and sensitive conscience are 
more pleasing to Him than fasts and ceremonial ob- 
servances. Partly, they are predictions of near and 
remote blessing: near, Jerusalem visited with divine 
favor; remote, many nations visiting the holy city 
ind clinging to Israel and sharing in their blessings. 

Part II. Chaps, ix-xiv. This section of the book 
does not bear the name of Zechariah, nor of any 
author, and much dispute has arisen as to its authen- 
ticity. That there is a difference of style traceable 
ii' these chapters is freely admitted, but that this 
difference is so great as to be accounted for only on 
the supposition of a difference of authorship is not 
admitted. The quotation in Matt, xxvii, 9, seems 
to favor the idea that the latter part of Zechariah 
wa} not written by him, but by an earlier one, viz., 
Jeremiah. So Joseph Mede thought, the first to call 
the integrity of this section in question. The all- 
sufficient reply is this, that the author of these chap- 
ters must have written at a later date than Jeremiah, 
for he refers not only to Joel, Amos and Isaiah, but 
also to Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Zephaniah. (See Zech. 


ix, 2, and Ezek. xxviii, 3; Zech. ix, 5, and Zeph. ii,4; 
Zech. xi, 4, and Ezek. xxxiv, 4; Zech. xi, 3, and 
Jer. xii, 5; Zech. xiv, 10, n, and Jer. xxxi, 38-40, 
etc.). The proof seems overwhelming that these 
chapters were written after the exile, and although 
they are anonymous save as found in this book, yet 
the presumption is very decidedly in favor of the 
view that Zechariah was the author. 

The second part of the book is divided into two 
sections, each of which begins with the expression, 
" The burden of the word of the Lord." 

(i) Chaps, ix, x, xi, "The burden of Hadrach and 
Damascus." The name of the land of Hadrach is 
somewhat obscure, but that it is connected with 
Syria in some way can hardly be doubted. The 
Persian empire, or Gentileism in general, cannot be 
meant, as some have imagined. There is nothing 
to intimate that it is a symbolic name. Its associa- 
tion with Damascus and Hamath is fatal to that 
suggestion. The view of Canon Drake in the Bible 
Commentary is probably correct, that it signifies 
Syria " from the name of its king, Hadrach." Tyre 
and Sidon and Philistia share in the awful judgments 
threatened against the former places. The refer- 
ence may be to the invasion of Alexander the 
Great, for these very countries were overwhelmed 
by his army. Yet it is promised that the house of 
the Lord, and by implication, Jerusalem, shall 3 be 
preserved by the intervention of God Himself, ix, 8. 
From ix, 9, to the close of xi, we have a series of 
predictions, some of which relate to the appearing 
and rejection of Messiah, the destruction of Jerusa- 
lem, and the powerlessness and ignorance of the 
Jewish rulers, and the final establishment and glory 

ZECBAIttAH. 357 

of the kingdom of God and some of them to the dis- 
tant time when Jerusalem shall be encompassed with 
armies for the last time, and when a mighty deliver- 
ance shall be wrought for the chosen people, such 
as never was experienced before. 

(2) Chaps, xii-xiv. " The burden of Israel." The 
old comprehensive name Israel returns, and the en- 
tire twelve tribes appear in the predictions in this 
section. Judgment, repentance, forgiveness and 
cleansing are all secured to Israel through the gra- 
cious work of Messiah. It is of Israel's restoration, 
redemption and re-establishment as God's center 
for earthly and universal blessing of which these 
chapters treat. The last chapter introduces the 
universal peace and blessing and glory by the per- 
sonal return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. 

4. Messianic predictions. Zechariah is remark- 
able for the fullness with which he treats this great 
subject. He is but too well aware that the people 
who had returned from captivity were not maintain- 
ing fidelity toward God. Declensions and apostasy 
were but too manifest among them. Even Ezra and 
Nehemiah recognize the fact that only a remnant 
exhibit any genuine faithfulness. But in Haggai, 
Zechariah and Malachi it becomes quite manifest 
that " all were not Israel who were of Israel." It is 
in but a few that they find the true spirit and char- 
acter of the people of God; and ere the voice of 
prophecy is hushed, Malachi distinguished in the 
most solemn way between the godly remnant and 
the mass of the nation, whether people or priests. 
Accordingly, these prophets, and more especially 
the last two of the Old Testament, turn away from 
any further hope in the restored captives, and gaze 


with eager joy and swelling hope on the coming of 
the Messiah in whom every promise and prophecy 
will be made good. 

Chap, iii, 8, 9. " For behold, I will bring forth my 
servant, the Branch. For behold, the stone that I 
have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be 
seven eyes," etc. That Christ is meant by the name 
Branch is evident from Isa. iv, 2; xi, i; Jer. xxiii, 5, 
6; Zech. vi, 12. By this title is denoted among other 
things the great fact that Messiah is to be identified 
with our race, and incorporated with our kind. He 
is to be born of a woman. He is to spring from the 
stock of Abraham, but especially from the root of 
Jesse, the family of David. He is, therefore, to be 
of royal lineage and princely descent. Moreover, 
He is Jehovah's Servant (cf. Isa. xlii, i), one who 
perfectly fulfills the will of God, and the neglected 
duty of His people. And further, He is to be 
supremely intelligent as Zechariah expresses it,He 
possesses seven eyes " (cf. Rev. v, 6). He is to have 
the power to know and to execute the will of God, 
as it has never been performed by man nor by all 

Chap, iv, 12, 13. " Behold the man whose name is 
the Branch; and He shall grow up out of His place, 
and He shall build the temple of the Lord: even He 
shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall 
bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His 
throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: 
and the counsel of peace shall be between them 
both." Messiah shall unite in His own person the 
priestly and the kingly dignities. The two charac- 
ters, so long distinct in Israel, will be blended in 
Him. Nor will there be divergence or disagree 


ment between them, or pre-eminence of the one over 
he other, as so often happened in the past. The 
regal office will not overshadow the sacerdotal, nor 
the sacerdotal the regal. 

Chap, ix, 8. This great prediction was literally 
fulfilled when Jesus made His memorable entry into 
Jerusalem, John xii, 14, 15. 

Chap, xi, 12, 13, contains the announcement of 
Messiah's betrayal and rejection, cf. Matt, xxvii, 

Chap, xii, 10-14, is the account of Israel's conver- 
sion, at least of the remnant, " in that day," which 
seems to mean the beginning of the day of the 
Lord. Their conversion is attributed to the Spirit 
of God, vs. 10. Their repentance is stated very dis- 
tinctly to be universal, individual and profound, and 
its occasion is the sight of Him whom they had 
pierced, vss. 11-14. 

Chap, xiii, i. The sin of the nation thus bemoaned 
is washed away. The " fountain opened " denotes 
Messiah's death, and the application of the benefits 
of His death to the house of David and the inhabi- 
tants of Jerusalem. 

Chap, xiii, 7. Messiah's death is in fulfillment of 
the will and plan of God for the redemption of His 

Chap, xiv, records the tremendous crisis through 
which Israel is yet to pass, their sufferings from the 
nations which gather against Jerusalem " in that 
day," their ultimate deliverance by the direct and 
personal interposition of the Lord, and the cosmical 
revolutions, and the sway of the kingdom of God 
over the renewed earth. That this majestic 
prophecy cannot have been fulfilled in the past 


every right principle of interpretation must lead us 
to conclude. It was not fulfilled when Christ as- 
cended from the Mount of Olives; much less when 
the Roman army besieged and destroyed Jerusalem, 
for then no deliverance was had, and no earthly 
blessing ensued. It evidently looks onward to the 
day when the Lord will once more interfere in 
behalf of His repentant and mourning people, and 
when His feet shall stand on Olivet, and when He 
will accomplish every promise He has made, and 
every word He has spoken touching Israel and the 
whole work!. 


Nehemiah is the last of the Old Testament his- 
torians; Malachi the last of the prophets. He is 
called " the seal " of the prophets, because his book 
closes the Old Testament canon. His name is 
thought to be significant a contraction of Malachi- 
jah. The Septuagint translates " by Malachi " (i, i), 
" by the hand of his angel," as if it were an appella- 
tive and not a proper name. Some, accordingly, 
think that Malachi, " my messenger," is the official 
title of the prophet, and not his real name. Some 
of the fathers went so far as to assert that he was a 
supernatural being, an angel, for which of course 
there is no ground. 

Malachi lived between B. C. 436 and 397; he 
prophesied probably B. C. 433-430. The first com- 
pany of exiles returned to Judea, B. C. 536. The 
second, under the leadership of Ezra, took place 
fifty-seven years after the completion of the second 
temple, B. C. 458 (Ezra vii, 6, 7). About B. C. 444, 
Nehemiah went up to Jerusalem from the court of 
the Persian king, Artaxerxes Longimanus, and be- 
gan his work of reformation, and after twelve years 
of arduous toil he returned to Babylon, and thence 
again to Judea. There are clear intimations in the 
prophecy of Malachi that he was engaged in a like 
work with Nehemiah. The same abuses, unhal- 
lowed alliances, and flagging zeal are encountered in 


the prophecy as in the history. What Haggai and 
Zechariah were to Zerubbabel and Joshua the high 
priest, Malachi was to the reformer Nehemiah. But 
it can scarcely be doubted that the evidences of 
decline and apostasy are much more visible in these 
later books than in the former. Priest and people 
alike are here turning away from God, and the 
prophet separates the remnant from the mass of the 
returned exiles, and addresses them, and holds out 
to them the hope of the speedy coming of the De- 
liverer, Messiah. 
The contents of Malachi may be distributed thus: 

1. Chaps, i-ii, 9. The sins of the priests sternly 

2. Chap, ii, 10-17. Condemnation of marriage 
with heathen. 

3. Chaps, iii, iv. Predictions of the appearing of 
Messiah's forerunner and the advent of Messiah 

Interspersed among the denunciations and warn- 
ings against the wicked are found gracious promises 
and assurances addressed to the faithful few who 
still adhered to the name and worship of Jehovah; 
as the precious word in iii, 16-18, where the little 
company who fear the Lord and who speak often 
one to another, are assured that God will remember 
them, has written down in His book of remembrance 
their sayings and doings, and will one day own and 
reward them; as in iv, 2, where the sun of righteous- 
ness is promised to rise upon those who fear His 

Chap, iii, I, announces the coming of Jehovah's 
messenger and of Jehovah Himself. In Mark i, 2, 
according to the revised version, these words which 


are quoted from Malachi, as also words from Isa. 
xl, 3, are all ascribed to Isaiah the prophet. There 
is in reality no contradiction here; for the prediction 
of Isaiah is unquestionably the foundation of that in 
Malachi, and accordingly the inspired evangelist 
goes back to the fountain of the prophecy, viz.. 

There is a striking contrast between the close of 
the Old and the New Testaments. The Old ends 
with the awful threat of the divine curse on the 
earth; the New, with the gracious words, " Even so, 
come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus 
Christ be with the saints" (Wescott and Hort). 

Thus closes the Old Testament canon. With hopes 
and promises of a better day and better things, the 
rising of the sun of righteousness, the book of re- 
membrance, the appearing of Elijah to restore all 
things with such splendid assurances it closes. It 
was in the night time of our race and of partial reve- 
lation that it closed; but a night thickly set with 
blazing stars and the roseate glimmer of the coming 
dawn. It closed with the sound of many voices 
along the shore, all uttering a cheerful and hopeful 
good night. The night passes round, and the shore 
of the New Testament becomes visible; evan- 
gelists and apostles cry, Hail to the morning. And 
their good morning is in blessed harmony with, and 
in full realization of, the cheerful and hopeful good 
night of the prophets from that other shore. 

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